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LCCI calls for speedy revival of rail system

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for a speedy resuscitation of the rail system to reduce the menace of trucks and other heavy duty vehicles on the road.

A statement signed by the President of the chamber, Alhaji Remi Bello, on Tuesday, noted that the rail system which could help in the evacuation of cargo from the Lagos ports needed to be resuscitated as a matter of urgency.

The chamber said the menace of trucks, trailers and tankers on Lagos roads, in particular, and the national road network in general had assumed an unbearable dimension.

According to the statement, the persistent delay in the clearance of cargo at the Lagos ports had become a major cause for concern for the business community, adding that the development made the evacuation of such cargo by rail, imperative.

“This development has implications including high demurrage charges, arising from delays in clearing of cargo; disruptions of production schedules of manufacturers as raw materials are not delivered in good time to factories and corruption risk at the port as importers struggle to clear their cargo through the bottlenecks.

“There is also the risk of exacerbation of inflation as goods are not quickly cleared from the port to meet the relevant needs in the economy and high cost of fund on borrowed funds by importers,” it stated.

It added that the slow speed of cargo clearance had become one of the major shortcomings of the investment environment in the country and that the 48-hour target set by the Federal Government was far from being achieved.

The chamber said the slow speed was as a result of the delays in the positioning of cargo at the port terminals; inadequate equipment for cargo handling; high incidence of cargo block-stacking and poor access roads to the ports.

According to the chamber, the rail system collapse has grave implications on the economy and the citizens as high transportation cost takes its toll on the operating cost in the economy.

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