The Government of Nigeria announced that full commercial passenger operations will start on the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri line, after three months of free train tests.
The construction of railway stations at Agbor is nearing completion and will be fully completed by or October this year, the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, said.
“The station buildings are nearing completion at Agbor and Julius Berger [a Nigerian construction company] assured that by June it will complete the work on the site, then CCECC would perform track work,” the Minister said.
Currently, none of the station buildings have been completed as they are at different levels of completion.
The railway line from Itakpe to the capital, Abuja would cost the Federal Government USD 3 billion.
The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway line has a total length of 276 km and links Warri in Delta State to Ajaokuta, in Kogi State. The rail line from Warri, passing through Itakpe, Ajaokuta, Agbor and Ore, and has six stations along the route. The line will ensure steel products and raw materials transport from the Delta Steel Company, in Aladja.
After construction works were performed for 254 km, the project was abandoned and in 2009, the project was with the Federal Government agreeing to pay USD 92.45 million (NGN 33 billion) for the design and completion of the remaining 22 km. The contract was awarded to Team Nigeria and Julius Berger, which were responsible for the construction of Ajaokuta-Warri section and construction of six stations and for the rehabilitation of the completed section. The two companies should complete the works in 2013.
In 2018, a consortium of General Electric and China’s Sinohydro was assigned to perform interim framework contract for rail track rehabilitation and management. Under the contract, the consortium was also responsible to supply Nigeria Railway Corporation 10 locomotives and 200 wagons.
In 2016 GE expressed its interest for a concession contract to revamp and manage the entire network, with a USD 2.7 billion estimated cost. GE has said the cash would come from banks, consortium partners and co-developers. In 2017, GE consortium was the only bidder for the concession contract on two railway lines connecting northern cities to others in the south the concession covers 3,500 km network from Lagos, in south-west to Kano in north southeastern oil hub Port Harcourt to Maiduguri in the north-east.
In 2009, GE signed a Country-to-Company (C2C) agreement with the Federal Government to support the financing, design and building of infrastructure and capacity across key sectors of the economy, including rail, power and healthcare. In 2014, this agreement was renewed for another five years. On transport sector, the US company partners with the Ministry of Transport to modernize and expand Nigeria’s locomotive fleet.