Nigeria’s rising global presence continues to become more and more difficult to ignore. The country has been making strides across a number of sectors including gaming, banking, and animation; most recently taking steps to improve its railway system.
A year after receiving its award of preferred bidder status from the Nigerian Federal Government, an international Consortium made a legal commitment in Washington D.C last Friday to begin an Interim Phase of the Nigerian narrow-gauge railway concession. General Electric (GE), the world’s leading digital industrial company, initiated the Consortium, which also includes: SinoHydro, a premier infrastructure construction services company, Transnet, a forerunner in transportation and logistics infrastructure management, and APM Terminals, a worldwide port, terminal and intermodal inland services provider.
The project has various objectives which will strengthen Nigeria’s rail industry.
The industry is expected to receive more locomotives, thereby enhancing the rate of passenger and freight rail services. The commercial transportation of goods via large vehicles is expected to rise from 50,000 metric tonnes per annum to about 500,000 metric tonnes per annum. Thus, the Consortium offers socioeconomic benefits through strategic goals that develop and refurbish Nigeria’s railway system.
GE supports this initiative with enthusiasm, and the company has high hopes for the future of Nigeria’s railway infrastructure. Lazarus Angbazo, CEO of GE Nigeria said “GE is committed to the sustainable development of Nigeria and as such we are delighted to have reached this crucial stage of the project to revamp and revitalize the country’s legacy rail infrastructure system. The Consortium looks forward to commencing execution of this Interim Phase with the continued support of the Federal Government and the Ministry of Transportation. As operations begin, our strong partners, such as Transnet and SinoHydro, will bring their strong operating and development skills to the forefront.”
Likewise, SinoHydro Chairman, Ding Zhengguo believes that this agreement brings Nigeria a step closer to altering its rail infrastructure and transportation logistics. He expressed his belief in the country’s potential.
According to David Skov, Head of Terminals IMEA, “APM Terminals has been actively investing and participating in Nigeria’s logistics infrastructure since 2006, and we are proud to be a part of this project to improve access for the Nigerian hinterland to the global logistics chain.” He echoes the positive and strategic attitude toward this project.
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, stated that this project could be significant for small and medium enterprises. In line with the positive reactions towards this programme, he is certain that plenty of Nigerian villages and towns will benefit from the railway network passes.
When the Consortium completes the interim season, it will close negotiations about the concession pact with the Federal Government.