In a significant stride towards enhancing Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure, the first container freight train embarked on its journey from the Apapa port in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital. China Civil Engineering Construction Company confirmed this development in a statement on Thursday, noting that the train was laden with 40-foot containers destined for Ibadan.
The statement elaborated, “The Nigerian Railway Corporation intends to operate a daily pair of container trains, with plans to increase the frequency in response to growing demand. This initiative aims to enhance the railway transportation system supporting Lagos Port, ultimately fostering more efficient cargo movement.”
This milestone follows the inauguration of the 157-kilometre rail line for passenger services and streamlined cargo evacuation from the Apapa Port by former President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2021. The Apapa Port, comprising five terminals and eight jetties, faced challenges of container congestion on roads and within the port, prompting the need for an effective solution.
Initially designed to alleviate the strain on roads and curb congestion at the port and its access routes, the railway project encountered delays in cargo operations following the inauguration. However, with the commencement of the container freight train, the project is now poised to revolutionize the region’s transportation landscape, promising increased efficiency and reduced congestion for both passenger and cargo services.