The Nigeria’s transportation network is one of the best in Africa; featuring an extensive system of paved highways, railroads, airports, water ways and seaports. The sector contributes about 1% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) annually and grows at an annual average rate of 8% in the last 5 years.

Road transportation accounts for more than 80% of passengers and freight movement in the country. Towards reducing the burden, government is revitalizing the railway network to soak up a large proportion of this movement. The aviation sub-sector is also been transformed to a more user friendly and affordable mode of transportation comparable to world standards. Similarly, the capacity of the inland waterways is been built to effectively complement the other modes of transport.

Nigeria’s sea ports handle 68% of West Africa’s maritime trade. The main sea port in Nigeria is at Calabar, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Sapele, Onne, and Warri. The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) regulates activities in the ports, several of which are under concessions.

To complement government’s efforts at enhancing the socio-economic infrastructure, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) was established to facilitating private sector participation in infrastructure development and management through Private Public Partnerships (PPP). For more information, please visit

Road Transportation

Road transportation is the most commonly used mode of transport in Nigeria and accounts for more than 90% of the sector’s contribution to the GDP.

Nigeria’s road network is the largest in West Africa and the second largest south of the Sahara; the national road network is currently estimated to be 194,200km of which 34,120km (17.6%) are federal roads, 30,500km (15.7%) state roads and 129,580km (66.7%) local and rural roads. However, a huge proportion of this network is buckling under the strain of carrying up to 80% of the annual passenger and freight traffic.

Rail Transportation

The Nigeria continues to expand its railway network; at present, the network covers an approximate distance of 3,500km of narrow-gauge line connecting the south-western part of the country (Lagos) with the Northwest (Kano) and Northeast (Maiduguri) with extension by a narrow-gauge line between Onne and the Enugu-Port Harcourt line and a standard gauge line from Ajaokuta to Warri covering a total distance of

Nigeria’s first high speed rails system connects Abuja, the capital city of the country and Kaduna, the commercial nerve centre of northern part of the country. The 186.5 km standard gauge track built by the China Railway Construction Corporation has double lines, nine stations, and the train can travel at up to 150km per hour.

Similar tracks are being planned across the country. Already construction of 10 new standard gauge rail lines covering over 3,421 kilometers has commenced. These tracks would pass through Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Benin, Abuja, Kogi, Onitsha and Sokoto, among other states

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) owns and operates the country’s rail and rolling stock. There is ongoing reform to allow private sector participation in virtually all activities in the industry.

Waterways Transportation

The country has an inland navigable waterway of about 3000km which transverse 20 of the 36 states presenting huge investment potential. The coastline is about 852km. The Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) serves as the regulator of the activity. The Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act No 5 of 2003 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria facilitate private participation in coastal and inland waterway transport services, and the construction and management of infrastructure to support the industry.

Air Transportation

Airports and air navigational facilities constitute major infrastructure of the country’s transport sector; the country has a total of 19 airports and 62 airstrips distributed all over the country. Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports are the 4 international airports and combined, they account for up to 90%of all passenger movement and aircraft movement in the country.

The operation and management of most of the airport facilities are presently done through the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). The National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is responsible for Regulation, licensing, traffic control and navigational aids for aircrafts.

The active participation of the private sector in the industry as licensed operators, concessionaire or in PP arrangement for the delivery and management of infrastructure and services continue to have huge impact in the transformation of the industry. Some of the major international airlines flying in and out of Nigeria are Air France, Air Afrique, Alitalia, British Airline, China Southern Airlines, Delta Airlines, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, South African Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and many others.

A new National Aviation Policy has been approved to address safety issues in the industry.

Pipeline Transportation

Pipeline transport as a mode of transport in Nigeria dates back to 1955 following the discovery and exploitation of crude oil. The initial pipelines were limited to the oil producing rejoins of the southern Nigeria and were owned by the oil exploring companies.

Presently, the pipelines in the country cover over 4,000km owned by both the public and the private sectors. The pipelines have become important mode of transporting petroleum products from refineries to pump stations, deport industrial complexes and homes across Nigeria.


Globally, the demand for basic transportation infrastructure services has outstripped the supply capacity of existing assets; the situation in Nigeria is no exception. Massive investment is required in construction and maintenance of transportation facilities, and service provision in all activities­­­­­- road, air, rail, waterways, and pipeline- which are beyond the means available to government.



This section contains sector opportunities, Insights, and analysis from detailed research work that was done by NIPC’s Partners