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Operation to resume on 2,044km Eastern railway next month

Barring unforeseen delay, operation is expected to resume on the 2044.1km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern railway corridor next month. However, the resumption of operation would be…

Barring unforeseen delay, operation is expected to resume on the 2044.1km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern railway corridor next month.

However, the resumption of operation would be on the Port Harcourt-Aba section of the corridor following completion of track-laying by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractor handling the project.

It would be recalled that decades after going moribund, the federal government in 2021 performed the groundbreaking for the rehabilitation of the project with new extensions and facilities including the construction of Bonny Deepsea Port and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari at the time said the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri railway will translate to reactivation of economic activities along the Eastern corridor, which has been greatly affected by insurgent activities and serves as a stimulus for industry and trade. 

“The connection of the railway to a new seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt, is designed to increase the viability and boost transshipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region and in the Continental Free Trade Area,” he had said.

Daily Trust reports that the project estimated to gulp $3.2bn has been stalled due to lack of funding.

However, a portion of it to Aba in Abia State covering 63km has been completed as disclosed by CCECC.

John Zhao, chief representative and executive director of CCECC, disclosed this today on his X handle, @JohnCCECC.

“New Year, new progress! The track laying from Port Harcourt to Aba on the Nigeria Eastern Narrow-Gauge Railway project has been completed by #CCECC,” Zhao wrote.

Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday, the Managing Director of NRC, Engr Fidet Okhiria, confirmed that operation would resume on the completed portions of the railway corridor after necessary checks by authorities.

“We said they should be delivering the project in portions; within the next one month, after finishing the tracks, there would be an inspection and checks,” he said.

He disclosed that the NRC is currently repairing coaches and locomotives that would be deployed for operation on the corridor.

Former Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, had said, “Upon completion, trains on the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway will run at 60 – 80 kilometres per hour Kph and 80 – 100 kilometres per hour Kph for freight and passenger respectively. 

“The Bonny Deepsea port has a container terminal of 500,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) per annum capacity and 100,000 DWT (Deadweight tonnage) Berth.”

 

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