In a bid to get the six Inland Container Depots (ICDs) located in each of the
geo-political zones of Nigeria to become operational, the Infrastructure
Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on Wednesday, held a meeting
with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) who are the owners of the project
and the Concessionaires.
The meeting, which was at the instance of the ICRC, the agency of
government under the Presidency, charged with the responsibility of
regulating all government concessions and Public Private Partnerships
(PPPs), sought to find solutions to the factors hindering the completion of the
dry ports whose contracts were signed since 2006.
Acting Director General of the Commission, Mr. Michael Ohiani, who declared
the meeting open, stressed that 16 years after the concession contracts were
signed, some of the ICDs were still at 5 percent completion while only two had
gotten to 55 percent and 68 percent, hence the need for the meeting.
Also at the meeting was Dr. Jobson Ewalefoh, ICRC’s Director of Contract
Compliance Department and his team.
Speaking further, the Ag. DG said, “We want to rub minds and come up with
how we can make progress: what are the challenges taking into consideration
that these projects have already gotten Mr. President’s attention and more so,
we need to decongest our seaports. Also when completed, these ICDs will
bring the required benefit to our citizens and our country Nigeria”.
“We are not unaware that at the material time that the contracts were signed,
ICRC as a Commission had not been set up, so no proper Outline Business
Cases (OBCs) were done for the projects like we now do, but I want us to
have a frank discussion so that we can chart a way forward.”
The Commission reminded the concessionaires and NSC that by its Act, it is
to take custody of all PPP contracts including the ones for the ICDs.
The concessionaires and states where the ports are located include: Oyo
state (Ibadan) with 50,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs), by Catamaran
Logistics Ltd; Abia State (Isiala Ngwa) with 50,000 TEUs by Eastgate Ltd;
Plateau State (Jos) with 20,000 TEUs by Duncan Maritime Nig. Ltd; Kano
State (Dala) with 20,000 TEUs by Dala Inland Dry Port Ltd.; Katsina State
(Funtua) with 10,000 TEUs by Equitorial Marine Oil and Gas Ltd. and Borno
state (Maiduguri) with 10,000 TEUs by Migfo Nigeria Ltd.
Based on the last assessment presented to the ICRC by the NSC, the
percentage progress made by the concessionaires were: Oyo state – 10%,
Abia state – 5%, Plateau State 29.7%, Kano state – 55%, Katsina State – 68%
and Borno State – 5%.
However, the concessionaires told the ICRC that the 16 years journey had
been fraught with various challenges which had hampered any progress that
could have been recorded.
The concessionaires complained of poor cooperation from state governments
who mostly delay in meeting their own part of the agreement, for instance in
the area of land provision.
Another major challenge they emphasised was the lack of narrow gauge rail
lines in and out of the dry ports which they noted was important to make the
operation of the ports efficient. They added that access to funds also
remained a major issue even as banks and foreign investors make
unreasonable demands for assets and bank bonds before the release of
The concessionaires unanimously stressed the need for the ports being
constructed to be given the status of port of origin and destination and also to
be registered with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) upon
In view of the delay in execution, the concessionaires stressed the need for a
new agreement, pointing out that an agreement started in 2017 between them
and the NSC but it was yet to be cleared by the Federal Ministry of Justice on
behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
They however commended the ICRC for its intervention and also appreciated
the NSC for their support so far, noting that they were confident that under the
administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the contracts will be sorted
The concessionaires pledged their commitment to see the concession to
conclusion and the ports operational even as two of the concessionaires,
Equatorial Marine Oil and Gas Ltd for the Katsina ports and Dala Inland Dry
Port for the Kano Ports declared that their ports will commence operation
before the third quarter of 2022.
Mr. Usman Iya Abbas, Managing Director of Equatorial Marine Oil and Gas
Ltd informed the ICRC team that the Funtua port was already at over 85 per
cent completion and was ready to launch before the end of the second quarter
“We hope to commission this project before the end of the second quarter and
the ports will become functional immediately. We are lucky to have great
relationships in the shipping industry and with major shipping lines.
Hon. Ahmed Rabiu, MD of the Dala Inland Dry Port Ltd., concessionaires of
the Kano Inland Port also hinted that the construction of the container depot
was already nearing completion. He assured that the company was working
assiduously to ensure project completion and take off before the end of March
On his part, Dr. Ewalefoh of the ICRC who chaired the technical session of the
meeting assured the concessionaires of the continuous support of the
Commission, charging them however to send a detailed update of the contract
status reports to the ICRC.
He further enjoined the other four concessionaires who were yet to make
remarkable progress in their contract execution to emulate the milestone
recorded by the other two who were finalizing their constructions, so that the
ports can yield the economic benefits for which the concessions were granted.
While thanking the stakeholders for honouring the invitation of the ICRC, it
was resolved that going forward, there will be periodic meetings to ensure that
the projects are speedily completed.
Ag. Head, Media and Publicity