Gridlock, says Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) director of operations Niyi Ali, characterises the Apapa area in Lagos together with Tin-Can Island, which between them “host the two largest seaports in the country”. A major contributory reason for the traffic problem has been that almost everything moves by road. Some oil marketing companies have transferred automotive gas oil (AGO) consignments to the railway, but petroleum products are still handled by road hauliers.
According to Ali, rail links to the tank farms are almost complete and it is hoped to begin transport of oil products from the harbour area by train during October. “We moved 12 wagons of AGO from Lagos to Kano,” Ali says. Moving the 528,000 litres of AGO by rail didn’t pose serious safety considerations. “Transloading from road tankers to railway tankcars is not a problem,” he added.