Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has moved to tackle accident, theft, pilferage and other losses associated with movement of cargoes from the ports to their destinations with Truck Transit Park (TTP) in the country. BAYO AKOMOLAFE reports
A total of 543.8 million tons of cargoes were discharged from the ports and moved by trucks through the 204,000 kilometres network of roads between 2013 and 2016.
But the port economic regulator, Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), said that some of the goods never reached their destinations safely because of accidents, pilferage, diversion and other sharp practices.
Although, there are other modes of transportation within the country, they, however, lack the interconnectivity required to form effective inter-modal systems of transportation.
The problem Despite the increasing volume of goods and vehicular traffic, especially articulated vehicles that ply the port and other road networks daily, there is no tracking system and transit park to monitor the movement of trucks from the port to their destinations, leading to human and economic losses.
Miffed by these, the port economic regulator, NSC, said that the most effective way of addressing the challenges is through the establishment of Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) in some specific locations in the country. The parks are primarily intended for short-term safety breaks and also long-term parking services in high-use corridors.
When fully operational, the council said that the parks would provide security and easy tracking of cargoes along the transport chains.
The TTP project is expected to directly address transport infrastructure deficit by providing short-term resting place for truck drivers on long distance travels, reduce loss of lives and cargo through accidents.
The council, which is providing the parks in Mararaba, near Jos, Jebba, Lokoja, Obollo-afor, Ore, Ogere, and Onitsha, described them as common user facilities off the highways, where truck drivers could conveniently park their vehicles, secure accommodation, procure fuel, food, spare parts and some services.
The Executive Secretary of the council, Barrister Hassan Bello, explained that this was why NSC is trying to fill the vacuum created by the absence of interconnectivity in modes of transportation when it came up with the idea of TTP for all articulated vehicles in the country.
Quoting from the Federal Road Safety Corps’ statistics, he said that between 2014 and 2016 alone, the country recorded 4,663 truck accidents, 961 tanker accidents and 2,145 trailer accidents, making a total of 7,769 accidents of articulated vehicles in three years.
Apart from reducing accidents and loss of lives within the 240,000kilometres of road network, he explained that the TTP project, on completion, would help in no small measure to protect cargo interest by eliminating carnage and destruction to cargoes and vehicles, reduce pilferage and theft of cargoes vehicle on transit, afford cargo owners the means to monitor the movement of cargo with the provision of cargo tracking system at each park, improve trade with land locked neighboring countries of Niger, Chad and in the short run, increase revenue generation through improved trade relations.
Bello noted that the parks would create employment opportunities and create wealth for the people within their locations through the development of ancillary businesses around the locations.
“This will, no doubt, increase internally generated revenue of their host states,” he said. The executive secretary added that the project would be executed through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
According to him, the PPP approach was adopted to attract private expertise and capital investment infrastructure and good service delivery. This, he said, would make the government conserve its scarce resources for other public needs.
It was also gathered that insurance would provide support for the TTP project. Bello noted that the area of challenges was the risk.
“The people, cargoes and trucks are at risk. That is why we need to come in. The national insurance commission should be brought in at all stages of the projects,” he said.
President, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Mr.Remi Ogungbemile, said that the transit trucks parks in designated areas in the country was a welcome development.
He noted: “We at AMATO consider the TTP project as a welcome development. The project like this is long overdue in Nigeria. Truck drivers need a place to park, rest and fix their trucks.
They need a secured area to stop and buy food, buy fuel and do one or two things before proceeding on their journey.
This will reduce accidents on the highways. The goods they are carrying will also be secured.” The chairman explained that after the completion, truckers would not find truck parked on the road side again and this would reduce traffic congestion on the highways, especially at Ogere end of Ogun State.
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