The 326-kilometer Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway that runs from the southern oil hub of Warri near the Atlantic coast northwards into the major iron ore producing region in Kogi state, Nigeria, has commenced commercial operations.
The single-track project, built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) was commissioned by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari alongside the ancillary facilities yard, at the recently named Goodluck Jonathan Railway Complex in Agbor (Owa-Oyibu), Delta State.
The project will link people from different cultural backgrounds and play a critical role in transporting iron ore from the central Itakpe to Warri port, and promote the development in the agricultural and mining sectors along the route subsequently expanding trade and commerce which will lead to better standards of living for the West African Country citizens.
Buhari said projections indicate that the operation of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri line will generate close to 1 million passenger volume and approximately 3.5 million tons of freight per annum. He also instructed the Federal Ministry of Transportation to link all the nation’s ports of origin and destination – Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, Calabar Ports – to the rail network to enhance overall transportation and economic capacities.
Plans to operate three vertical and five horizontal lines crisscrossing the country
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has plans to eventually operate three vertical and five horizontal lines crisscrossing the country and linking up with its major ports.
Another line, from the capital city Lagos on the Atlantic coast running northwards to the city of Kano, is currently being constructed in segments. Much of it runs parallel to an old British-built rail line which had fallen into deterioration.
There are already long-distance north-south services in operation from Lagos to Kano and Port Harcourt to Kano, but the network needs to be built up for more efficient freight and passenger services.