Cement will soon be transported from Lafarge’s Ewekoro works, in Ogun state, Nigeria, to other parts of the country by rail, said the Nigeria Railway Corp’s Managing Director Seyi Sijuwade. This would result in a fall of cement prices as well as reduce traffic bottlenecks and road accidents, according to the executive.
The operation represents the third phase of moving cement transport off the road to rail haulage. In a first stage, 600tpw was transported from Ewekoro to Ijoki, while the second phase saw 150tpw sent from Ewekoro to Agege. Cement transports from the plant to Ibadan will now be carried out with further expansion of the scheme planned to Osogbo, Illorin and Kano, according to Rasheed Gbadamosi, NRC district manager of the western zone.
In separate news, the Dangote Group has announced it will soon build rail tracks from all its cement plants to the national railway network to reduce transportation and product costs. Akin Adesokan, managing director of the company’s Lagos terminal, said “The challenge is taking our goods from the factory to the ports, and since there is no railway system, it makes transportation of bulky goods burdensome,” he said. He added that Dangote had invested heavily on haulage with the purchase of over 2000 trucks to distribute cement to all depots in the country.
Meanwhile, Abodunrin Matthew, a distributor with the Ifelodun Cement Dealers Association has called on the government to address the transportation infrastructure issue. “What we need from the government are good roads, because there is a shortcut to the Ibese factory through Papa to Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The government has to support local manufacturing companies like Dangote for it to help the country stop the importation of some goods into the country,” Matthew said.