The breakdown of a haulage train transporting 20 containers from Lagos to Kaduna and Kano states in Mopa, Kogi State is causing disaffection between some businessmen and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
Recently, the NRC introduced the evacuation of containers by rail to the Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL) depots in Kaduna and Kano states.
Because of the breakdown, consignees are beginning to raise doubts on the efficiency and sustainability of the system after 16 years of inactivity.
The (NRC) had flagged-off evacuation of containers by rail at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa when 20 units of 40-foot containers departed the complex for Kano and Kaduna states after an elaborate ceremony presided over by the chairman of NRC board, Alhaji Kawu Baraje.
But Head of Public Relations of NRC, Mr. Ndakotsu, denied knowledge of any incident involving the train, saying that, “I am not aware about that, I will find out. If the train breaks down, I should know as head of PR department”.
On why the train was yet to arrive at its destination since take-off on Friday, Ndakotsu said: “It is a cargo train and does not have the speed of a passenger train.”
However, a top management staff of ICNL, owners of the container depot in Kano and Kaduna, where the cargoes should be delivered, said that the containers were yet to arrive at the container depot in Kano because the train broke down in Mopa, about 330 kilometres from Lagos.
“The NRC brought a bad train to carry containers and has broken down in Mopa,” he said, adding that even though the haulage of 20 units of containers is a far cry from what is being anticipated, the train break down is a big setback for their business.
Managing Director of NRC, Adeseyi Sijuwade, had said at the flag-off ceremony: “This day will go down in the annals of history of the corporation as a day we recommenced NRC’s active participation in the lifting of container cargoes from the ports to hinterland and in enhancing the ports decongestion drive”.
Four locomotives were also launched at the ceremony, which NRC claims was bought as brand new, but were described as refurbished by some stakeholders.