Rail: FG to ban heavy cargo transport by road

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The Federal Government plans to ban the movement of certain category of cargoes on some roads after the completion of major railways in the country.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said this in Lagos during a panel session on infrastructure development and financing at an event organised by Deloitte on Nigeria Economic Outlook 2020.

“As soon as we finish these rail projects, there are some types of cargo that will not go on road, whether you like it or not,” he said.

While giving an account of ongoing rail construction and other new ones to be constructed, he said it was important to transfer the cargo movement to the rail track.

This, he said, would enable the roads to last longer.

He said railway transportation for passengers was usually subsidised but was uncertain if cargo would be subsidised, adding that the cost of construction must be paid back.

“No matter what we charge, it will not be the same as what we charge you on goods,” he said.

The minister said that movement of goods would be faster when they were moved by railways than roads, which would also be time-saving for businesses.

“When the FG does rail projects, it is the job of the state governments to do roads to (connect to) the different railway stations,” Amaechi added.

In their last meeting with states governors, he said Transportation Ministry agreed that it could construct some level of roads that would take the passengers out of the stations.

He stressed that it was essentially the duty of the state governments and not the Federal Government to do the inner roads in their states.

The minister said that they also agreed that contractors could construct some few metres of roads out of the stations, but others were to be done by the state governments.

Amaechi said the government was investing in human capital development to enable Nigerian citizens to take over the construction of railways in the country in the next five to 10 years.

While noting that currently, the Chinese engineers were involved in major construction projects in the country, he said about 150 Nigerians were being trained in China to develop knowledge in this area.

Ameachi said the Federal Government would build railway universities in the country, and bring English-speaking Chinese to teach in the institutions.