Sequel to our last article about how Kaduna has overtaken Plateau’s competitive advantage (with the hurried development of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port).
We have since undertaken further due diligence (and obtained pictures) to understand the state of completeness of the Jos inland dry port project and to shed more light on what can be done to expedite its development.
A bit of background:
The Jos Inland Container Depot is one of 7 depots concessioned by the Federal Government. The 25 year concession was given to Duncan Maritime Ventures Ltd, headed by Dr. Godfrey Shitgurum, a seasoned freight and logistics expert.
Even though the project is a Federal Government one (not a Plateau state government project) –the state government, donated 33.4 hectares of land as its contribution to the project. This land donation enabled Duncan Maritime Venture Ltd. to forge ahead with the phase 1 development –which comprises the building of facilities for 5,000 equivalent container units. Note: the total capacity once completed will be for the handling of 20,000 equivalent container units.
As it stands, the depot is at approximately 70% completion stage. However, a few challenges still stand in the way of getting it over the line (to completion). One of such is that, the concessionaire having expended large sums in pushing the project thus far, needs further injection of capital to complete it. Sources within the Nigerian Shippers Council confirmed to our reporters, that the needed capital is required to finalise key infrastructures to enable the imminent start of the project –possible in late 2018.
How critical is the inland dry depot to Plateau?
The inland dry port, when completed will revolutionise the economic fortunes of Plateau.
Bear in mind the Federal Government’s objective of setting up such ports is to de-congest Lagos ports. The decongestion will be achieved by moving customs and excise activities from these congested ports to the concessioned inland ports in Jos (Heipang), Kaduna, Funtua, Oyo, Aba, Kano & Maiduguri.
What this means is that all customs & clearance activities, including the attendant supply chain processes will leave Lagos and be moved to these outer locations –thus creating new jobs, establishing new industries, new supply chain networks, auxiliary industries and boosting economic activities.
What this means for Plateau is that:
- The yam farmer in Shendam does not need to load his/her farm produce onto trucks and send to Lagos for export anymore. He/She can simply take such to Heipang, containerise them and get them ready for export to China. All the related customs processes and procedures will be undertaken in at Heipang. The taxes, levies, bill of laden etc will all be captured at Heipang (without having to do much in Lagos, except for loading onto ships).
- Similarly, vehicle importers who are based in Plateau can order their vehicles from Belgium, USA or UK and ask for them to be delivered straight to the Heipang port (not Lagos). Again, all clearing and excise duties with regards the vehicles will be undertaken at the Heipang depot.
- Zinc and Lead miners in Zurak (Wase) will not need to load their consignments onto trucks to Lagos for export to USA or China, they will simply utilise the depot at Heipang. Sending the consignment straight to the chosen destination without having to rely on Lagos for anything (save for loading onto shipping vessels).
Such is the magnitude of economic revolution which is impending on the Plateau if we successfully complete the dry inland port.
What can be done to finalise the project in 2018?
Given the very strategic and important nature of the project to our state, it will be critical that PLSG buys equity (i.e., takes a share of the concession by becoming part owners) of the project. Buying equity will release capital to the concessionaire to complete the project, but will also ensure that Plateau shares of any profits that accrues from the venture (this is of course aside taxes that it will also collect). This is exactly what the Kaduna state Government did in accelerating the development of the Kaduna Inland Dry Container Depot. Even though the Kaduna inland dry port is a private one, the Kaduna state government took interest in it and have worked to bring it to fruition because of its strategic importance. Up to 13,000 jobs are forecasts to be created once the Kaduna depot reaches full capacity –that is colossal.
Already, ViewPointNigeria has reached out to key principals within the Economic Team of the “Rescue Team” in this regard and can confirm that this project is in their radar of consideration.
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