What you need to know about Nigeria’s Dry Ports
A dry port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail or both to a seaport and operating as a center for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.
According to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Inland dry ports also known as Inland Container Deports (ICD’s) or Containers Freight Stations (CFs) are ports are equivalent to seaports but located in the hinterland. These ports receive containers by rail or road from the seaport for examination and clearance by customs and other competent authorities.
Dry ports serve as rallying points for exporters, where their consignments for export would be moved using multiple modes of transportation, by rail or road, to the conventional seaports.
The seven (7) approved locations for dry ports in Nigeria concessioned to private sector operators are: 
- IsialaNgwa, Aba in Abia state
- Erunmu, Ibadan in Oyo state
- Heipang, Jos in Plateau state
- Zawachiki in Kano state,
- Zamfarawa, Funtua in Katsina state
- Jauri, Maiduguri in Borno state.
- ICNL, Kaduna State
In addition to the seven (7) gazetted ICDs, there have been proposals from the private sector to establish ICDs at Dagbolu in Osun State, Lolo in Kebbi State, Onitsha in Anambra State and Ogwashi-Uku in Delta State.
Exploring Some of the World’s Largest Dry Ports
Khorgos gateway and City Deep Terminal are two of the world’s largest dry ports.
- The Khorgos Gateway: The Khorgos Gateway located in China connects Kazakhstan to China by rail. About 65 trains carrying 6,200 TEU of cargo cross through Khorgos Gateway every month.
- City Deep Terminal: The City Deep Terminal is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. The dry port was officially opened in 1977. The container terminal is connected to the ports of Durban, Ngqurha and Cape Town as well as Southern Africa by road and rail. At least 40% of containers run on the Natal Corridor which is directly linked by rail to City Deep. The Terminal has just over 3,000 Terminal Ground Slots (TGS), with less than 100 of them meant for refrigerated containers. The throughput capacity of the port is estimated at a minimum of 400,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per annum.
What are the Benefits of Dry Ports?
- Dry ports serve as a good source of revenue for a country’s economic growth and development. The dry ports support trade activities and enhance stimulation between countries.
- Dry ports relieve the pressure faced at the seaports and helps to reduce congestion.
- Creation of employment opportunities.
- Strengthens multi-modal solutions.
- Supports infrastructural development of rail and road networks.
- Reduced logistics costs. Importers can access their consignments at cheaper rates and closer to their warehouses.
Are there operational dry Ports in Nigeria?
Yes, the Kaduna IDP is operational. The other dry ports are yet to be completed due to lack of funds.
The Way Forward for Dry Ports in Nigeria
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello stated during Commonwealth Business Forum that the Council wants to attract investors from Commonwealth countries so that the remaining projects being handled by concessionaires can be completed as soon as possible.
It is our utmost desire that the dry ports would be completed as soon as possible as Nigeria seeks to diversify its economy, especially at these unprecedented times.
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