Inland Dry Ports As Incubator For Free Trade Zone.

activities are yet to commence in most places designated as Inland Dry Ports
across the country, investigations have revealed, meanwhile it can be a
veritable tool and stepping stone for Free Zone development in host areas.
Apart from the Kaduna
Dry Port where activities have commenced and that of Jos, where work at the
site had reached advanced stage, work had either been abandoned or not
commenced in all other sites in Nigeria.
In South-East, work is
yet to start at the two sites proposed for the construction of the ports at
Ntigha and Obollo Afor in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia and
Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, respectively.
In Aba, Abia, the
Ntigha port, located on the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, had been overgrown
with weeds, with no structure in place.
The state government
had in 2017, signed a deal with the Concessionaire, East gate Container
Terminal Limited.
The Executive
Secretary, NSC, Hassan Bello, had earlier said that the Abia Inland Cargo Dry
Port, would ultimately become an export free trade zone, which can create 3,000
jobs opportunities when in operation.

Dry Port in Kaduna (Photo credit: Ships and Ports)
“When fully
operational, the port is expected to boost business transactions in the
South-East and decongest Onne and Port Harcourt Wharfs,” Bello said.
In Nsukka, the dry
port in Obollo Afor in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State is not
functional, just as the land hosting the sign-post had been taken over by cow
and horse dealers.
A horse seller, who
identified himself as Mr Bello Idris, said “We are using this place to sell our
horses, as well as hire them to those who want because nobody is using this
In Kano, the
non-declaration of the Inland Dry Port located in the state as “port of origin
and destination,” by the relevant authorities, had stalled its operation, 15
years after its completion.
Alhaji Ahmad Rabi’u,
the Chairman of Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited, Kano, who is the current
Commissioner of Commerce and Industry in the state, said work on the port was
completed in 2003, but that the facility had remained dormant.
“Dala Inland Dry port
is ready to commence commercial activities but is waiting for the declaration
of the facility as port of origin and destination for the final technical
arrangement and formal take-off.
“In 2003, the
Dala Inland Dry port Nigeria limited was awarded responsibility to operate the
Kano Dry port and since then, it has passed through different stages of
“All the technical
arrangements have been concluded, with the exception of the declaration
expected to be formalised,” Rabi’u added.
He said the port was
constructed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, with Kano
State Government holding 20 per cent equity interest.
According to him, the
port will generate a lot of revenue as Kano constitutes between 75 and 80 per
cent of Nigerian cargo export.
He said the port would
be linked to rail line, and had facilities for storage, consolidation of goods,
maintenance for roads and rail cargo carriers, as well as customs clearance
Rabi’u, therefore
urged the Federal Government to facilitate completion of the processes in view
of the economic benefits of the port to the people of the state and the country
at large, moreso with the presence of Kano Free Zone and Maigateri Border Free
zone that will benefit from its operation.
Also work on Fright
Station/Dry Port in in Funtua, Katsina State, which started since September
2014, is progressing at a snail speed and residents are worried that it may be
The District Head of
Funtua, Alhaji Sambo Idris, is therefore urging the Federal Government to
hasten its completion because of its economic importance.
The project was billed
to be completed within 30 months of commencement but since then, its cost had
risen from the initial N3 billion, to N5 billion.
Under the initial
arrangement, Katsina State Government will acquire 10 per cent equity, while
the 36 local councils will also have 10 per cent stake, with the equity
reserved for Katsina indigenes, to be issued to interested investors.
Meanwhile, some
traders in Maiduguri are calling on the Federal Government to expedite work on
Borno Dry Port project to fast-track socio- economic development of the state.
Abubakar Kime, another
trader, said that the project would stimulate import and export of agricultural
produce in the North-East.
 “Dry Port will accelerate importation of
manufactured goods and promote exportation of fish, livestock, farm produce,
hides and skin.
The situation at the
33-hectares Heipang Inland Container Deport in Plateau is however different as
Mr Bawa Peters, Executive Director, DUNCAN Group of Companies, handlers of
construction work at the deport, said they were anticipating the creation of 5000
jobs from the project that had reached 70 per cent completion stage.
He appealed to
business men in the North to patronise the project when completed, saying that
it would save them the massive cost involved in traveling to sea ports to clear
their goods.
Peters called on the
Federal and Plateau state governments to ensure the construction of a railway
line to the terminal.
 “Already, offices for banks, clearing agents,
fire service bay and port police post are almost completed; it means we have
gone very far,” he said.
Activities are
gradually picking up at the Kaduna Dry Port which started operation at the
beginning of the year, says the Manager of the port, Mr Rotimi Raimi.
According to him, the
general cargo activities being carried out in Lagos seaport are also taking
place in Kaduna, adding that they have been getting encouraging inquiries from
businessmen on how best to utilise the port.
He said importers in
the North now had an alternative of cheaper means of doing business without
demurrage, as goods are received within 24 hours.
“Inland Container
Depots in the hinterland was informed by the need to reduce the congestion in
Lagos and other sea ports and provide ease in doing business in the country.