Monday, 28 December 2015

FG PERFECTS PLANS TO BEGIN FREIGHTING OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS BY RAIL

Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport
The Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that Nigeria would commence the freighting of petroleum products from its various seaports and refineries for onward distribution to consumers in the hinterlands by rail.

It is observable that in the last 10 years, Nigeria’s un­derground pipeline networks where products were usually moved have collapsed, thus leaving fuel marketers with no option than to move products by road via trucks with all the atten­dant crisis in gridlocks caused to other road users by the tankers indiscrimi­nately parked along refineries, depots and fuel reloading routes in Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt.

The high dependence on trucks to freight petroleum products across the country has also had dire impacts on the timely delivery of products given the delays associated with bad roads in most parts of the country.

Rt. Hon. Amaechi, who spoke in Lagos over the weekend, said work had advanced on the narrow gauge rehabilitation project, which will be highly utilised for the movement of such cargoes like petroleum products by marketers by 2016.

In his own words: “The movement of petroleum products by rail will be re-introduced in 2016. As you are aware, we have commenced and almost completed the narrow gauge rehabilitation, which will be retained for the move­ment of cargoes. At the same time, massive invest­ments into the standard gauge to link most parts of the country with faster trains for passenger movements has begun. In 2016, we hope to complete work on the Abuja-Kaduna railway line as Mr. President is highly committed to it.”

The minister made it clear that the Federal Government, alongside the Lagos State govern­ment, was also working out modali­ties to bring to an end the horrible traffic situation created at the Apapa axis of Lagos by fuel tankers queuing to take fuel, adding that in partner­ship with relevant ministries in the petroleum and transport sectors, steps would be taken to ensure that fuel supply to airlines at the Lagos do­mestic and international airports is done in such a way that will eliminate the indiscriminate parking of trucks along the airport routes with all the potential threats to the safety of the airport and allied facilities.

That would imply investing in the resuscitation or reconstruction of the underground pipes that brought fuel directly from the Ejigbo depot to the airport. The absence of the fuel pipe net­work is believed to be at the root of the fuel supply crisis to airlines in re­cent years. (Sun)