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US $2.3bn approved for construction of coastal railway project in Nigeria

The government of Nigeria has approved the Ministry of Transportation’s request of US $2.3bn loan for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal railway project expected to cut across most states in the South East and South.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who announced the reports said that a sum of US $1.8bn would come as a loan from Chinese banks, with the government providing a counterpart fund of US $500m.

Lagos-Calabar coastal railway project

China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) was awarded the Lagos-Calabar coastal railway line construction contract. Amaechi revealed that the first segment of the rail line will start from Port Harcourt to Warri to join the central line that goes to Abuja. The segment is projected to be ready within 2 years.

According to CCECC, the line is to be built to “Chinese standards”, however, it will not run at Chinese speeds: trains will be limited to 120 km/h. The line will be built by China Railway Construction Corporation, a subsidiary of CCECC. It has been working on planning for the route since 2010.

Adequate transport infrastructure

Upon completion, the proposed coastal railway line in Nigeria will link all seaports. The project will help to create up to 200,000 local jobs during the construction and around 30,000 permanent posts once the line is operational.

The project is also expected to create business hubs meant for commercial activities. The railway projects have helped solve is the insecurity along interstate roads in the country, particularly on the Abuja-Kaduna road.

As seen in developed economies, adequate transport infrastructure is a catalyst for economic growth and development. Thus, the planned coastal railway, along with several other ongoing railway projects, is a major development based on the potential contributions towards achieving economic development in Nigeria.