NRC develops Train Track Access Framework to encourage PP

In order to encourage Public-Private Partnership the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has said that the management of the corporation has developed a Train Track Access Framework.

 This was made known during a press briefing held at the NRC’s Headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos on Wednesday.

Okhiria said that the establishment of Train Track Access Framework would enable third parties to use the track.

He hinted that the framework would increase the usage of the trackers and also increase private sector participation.

He further said that the Train Track Access Framework would enable passengers to pay lesser amount for carriage of goods from one point to another and also improve interstate business.

“We have tendered the Train Track Access Framework to the Board of NRC during our last meeting and we hope that the framework will be approved at the next board meeting.

“We have set up a team to work with the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to enable them operate successfully.

“LAMATA had just received wagons for the Red line and hopefully they will start operation before the first quarter of 2023,” Okhiria said.

He said that efforts were being made by the Federal Government to adequately secure trains’ passengers nationwide as well as to address other industry issues.

Okhiria said efforts were being made to secure the release of other passengers in the  incident of March 28, 2022 which happened along Abuja-Kaduna route. 

He said the corporation is trying restore the confidence of Nigerians on train ride as the safest means of transportation.

The NRC boss said that diesel price had skyrocketed and being a service provider for the benefit of Nigerians, the corporation could not just increase its fares.

According to him, the corporation has to reduce the number of trips on both Lagos-Ibadan to four trips and Itakpe-Warri to two in order to provide train services for Nigerians.

He said that NRC had lost N531million to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna route between March and August 2022.

Okhiria said that the corporation had intended to increase the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge trip while it would increase Lagos-Ibadan train to 10 trips; five to and five fro.

“We were already doing 10 trips per day on the Abuja-Kaduna and thought that by now, it would have increased to 12, six to and six fro; so that people can properly schedule their movement using the train.

“Regrettably, due to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna train which was caused by the last terrorist attack, we have recorded a shortfall of N531 million on the Abuja-Kaduna route from March to August 2022.

“The shortfall is from expected income, following the disruption occasioned by the train attack.

“While we are trying to resolve that and people are building confidence, we have this astronomical challenge in the cost of diesel from N300 plus to over N1000 per litre, ’’ he said.

According to him, due to this, the Lagos-Ibadan route dropped to two because of diesel cost. What we earn cannot pay for diesel.

“We have people providing security because of the situation all over the place. We have to hire separate security.

“We have to pay them, whether the train runs or not.

“We have to pay light bills and still have to buy diesel for the generators servicing the stations, amongst other things in spite of the inactivity along the Abuja-Kaduna train route and the drop on the Lagos-Ibadan train services.

“So you can see that what we earn is also eroded by operational cost. Even in the midst of challenges, we also get fund from NRC properties’ management,” Okhiria said.

While explaining the movement of cargoes from the ports via the standard gauge rail, the managing director said that the movement of cargoes with the Lagos-Ibadan train would commence in November 2022..

He said that the NRC management had met with some maritime stakeholders, including APM Terminals and ENL Consortium, to ensure that freight runs on the standard gauge from both terminals to Papalanto and Abeokuta before November.

The NRC boss said that they were also working hard in ensuring that the access roads and freight yards were properly put in place so that the equipment for rolling stocks would be provided.

He noted that NRC would meet with some individuals proposing to use the warehouses and freight yards and was optimistic that before November they would start moving freights on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail.

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