A clarion call has been made for the repeal of the Railway Act of 1955 on the basis that it cannot support the present aspiration of Nigerians, for the establishment of a modern, effective and efficient railway infrastructure, which can support the existence of a multi-modal freight logistic mechanism and transport system in the country.
A campaign for the revocation of the Act is also being made, for the fact that it has not allowed for an organised inter modal transport architecture and inter connectivity of one mode of transportation with another, such that the Railway should be properly linked to the inland waterways, ports and Road transport network for a better logistics penetration.
The call was part of the Communiqué issued by participants at the end of the 2018 National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport(CILT) Nigeria held at the Wellington Hotel , Warri , Delta State at the weekend.
The stakeholders said that, despite Railways huge capital outlay and cost, Nigeria has really not ventured into an integral Railway network linking all the zones of the Country as well as the nation’s immediate regional neighbors.
According to the Communiqué, the average cumulative sub sectorial capital expenditure allocations in the Transport sub sector has been made to the disadvantage of the rail transport mode which invariably is the mode that is capable of carrying bulk freight.
It said the absence of a regulatory framework to liberalize rail transportation also poses a critical challenge to the growth of the sector, adding , the fact that only Apapa and Port Harcourt Ports are linked to rail does not augur well for the economic development of Nigeria.
The stakeholders advised that the Public Private Partnership (PPP) investment model should be encouraged for the Railways for ease of attracting more funds into the rail transport subsector while incentives should be made available to the investors.
While they advocated for the liberalization of the rail sector by the Federal Government , they canvassed the initiative and the will to pragmatically link not only the North South but also the East West zones of the Country, her inland waterways, ports and Nigeria’s neighboring countries to activate socio-economic integration and inspire prosperity for the people.
The participants at the Conference agreed that the Air mode of transport in Nigeria has room for expansion to link the railway system for an efficient and effective inter -modalism, since it is the mode of choice for speedy delivery of low weight, but high value freight.
The tone of the Conference was aptly captured in the keynote address, given by the National President, Mr. Ibrahim Jubril, FCILT, who was represented by the Deputy National President, Barr Alban Igwe, FCILT.
He stated that the choice of Warri as the venue coincides with the centenary of the Institute, and it is symbolic as it has the best representation of multimodalism in Nigeria- with the presence of rail, road, maritime, air and pipeline transportation which embodiments constitute an efficient and effective logistics presence that determines competitiveness and prosperity of any economy.
The CILT National President however decried the current state of logistics services and its accompanying and supporting infrastructure in the country , describing it as a situation which leaves much to be desired.
The conference was declared open by the Delta State Governor, His Excellency, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi 0kowa who was represented by Engr Victor Omonoyi .