As part of the efforts to bring efficiency to water transportation operations as alternative mode of commuting in the state, the Lagos State Ferry Services, (LAGFERRY) has commenced moves to fully explore water transportation potentials in Lagos. Muritala Ayinla reports
For many experts, Lagos has no reason to be faced with transportationchallenges, considering the abundant water body the state is endowed with.
They argued that if the potentials are fully utilised, the conundrum of traffic gridlock which has become a commonfeatureof the state couldbecome a thing of the past, given the geographical nature of the state with larger percentage of water body.
To these arrays of experts cum logistics, water transportation could have constituted at least 50 percentage of transportation taking place in the state, if every necessary step had been taken to fully explore the transportation potential, saying somecommutersof certainshould havenobusinessusingandcongestingthe roads. But to fully explore the water transportation potentials in the state that prides itself “State of Aquatic Splendour”aimed and tackle the traffic gridlocks in the metropolis, efforts were madetodevelop multimodal transport system, investments were madeinthesectorwiththeprocurementof higher capacity boats and rebranding of LAGFERRY, the state owned ferry service. Commuters in the state were also urged to embrace the unlimited possibilities in water transportation to ease incessant traffic gridlock in the state.
Speaking at a 2 – Day performanceappraisal/ capacitybuilding training for the Management staff of the LAGFERRY, held in Lagos, the the Chief Resilient Officer, Lagos State Resilience Office, Gbolahan Oki, an architect, said the remaincommittedto enhancing thecapacityof theworkforceinthewatertransportation and boost the patronage for the sector as mode of transportation in the state.
Oki commended the Management for building the capacity of its workforce, adding that training and retraining of personnel is crucial to achieving greater productivityandcompetencynecessaryfor socio- economicgrowthand infrastructure development. Hechargedthe personnel to considerthe workshopasanopportunitytoreviewtheir
performances over the years, analyze their challenges while they contribute meaningfullytoexperts’discussionsonhowtotakethe water transportation system of the State to a greater level.
He urged them to double their efforts so as to make water transportation moreattractiveandaconsideredalternative.
TheChief ResilienceOfficeradvisedLAGFERRY to put in place appropriate resilient strategies that would allow it to grow in the face of any challenges including; efficient risk management system, effective business continuity plans, change management, effective communication system, compliance with all safety protocols among others.
On his part, LAGFERRY Managing Director, Hon. Abdoulbaqi Ladi Balogun described the training as a demonstration of its commitment to a multimodal transport system aimed at tackling traffic gridlocks in the metropolis.
According to him, the on-going transport sectorreformsembarkeduponbytheGovernor Babajide Sanwo Olu-led administration are fast yielding positive results. He said that the agency was able to commute 200, 000 passengers in the first 150 days of the present administration, while expressing optimism that the vision for building a Smart city state with an intermodal transportation system would be realized in record time.
TheLAGFERRY boss, whodescribedthe theworkshopwiththetheme:”ResilientSailing for Sustainable Economy” as apt, said that it was aimed at reviewing the success made by the agency in the Year 2020 with a view to strategically prepare it for the challenges ahead in the New Year, towards building a resilience sailing economy necessary forgreatereconomic prosperityforthe State.
He said:” It is gratifying to note that the deliberate commitment of Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu administration to engender intermodaltransportationsystemisbeginning to take shape as there are noticeable increasing demands for water transportation by commuting public.
LAGFERRY recorded unprecedented milestones last year in our commercial operations despite the disruption caused by the ENDSARS protest and the Coronavirus pandemic.’’
Speaking further, the LAGFERRY boss disclosed that the State Government in its determined efforts to make water transportation a widely accepted alternative mode of transportation in the State, has approved procurement of additional 7 brand new commercialpassengerFerry boatsfor LAGFERRY to enhance its operational capacity in furtherance of the intermodal transport policy of the State Government.
BalogunnotedthatthetwodaysStrategic Management Workshopwouldhelphis Management staff to appraise their performances over the years and come up with a new strategic approach that can increase their productivity and efficiencies in water transportation sub sector of the economy.
“With theapprovalof additional7passengerFerry boats by the State Government, our agency would have a total of 20 boats in its fleet, I promise that our men would double their effortstoensurethatthemandategiventous by the State Government to commute 30% of theresidentsthroughwatertransportation will be met in record time’’ Balogun pledged.
He explainedthatthe agencyhad also been able to assist in saving jobs that would been lostduetothestateof theApaparoadthrough its barge operation by moving trucks and cargoesonthewaterways.
Whileinformingthat the agency has been able to provide reliable alternative intermodal transportation option for Lagosians by helping to decongest road traffic and assistinginensuringease of doing business by providing innovative logistics solutionforcargoesof corporateLagosthrough the waterways, he assured the agency would remaincommitted to safety of passengers and would not compromise on any of the Covid –19 Safety protocols as relates to water transportation.
He added:”Between January and December 2020, we have successfully moved 41,040 trucks from our terminal. 2308 cleared goodscontainershave been received fromthe port. 941 containers have been loaded back to the port.
We have also been able to create 284 employment directly and indirectly.”
Epe, Badagry, Agbowa-Ikosi, Agbara and Ibeju-Lekki, contributed 38% of the water transportation index to the transportation matrix of thestate, improvedwatertransportation contribution to Lagos GDP from 0.2% to 0.8%, paying high premium to safety and achieving accident free record,” he added.
“We will continue to break new grounds as we open up uncharted territory in water, we are committed to your safety as we promise not to compromise on Covid-19 safety protocols, we are urging the commuting public to embracewatertransportationasalternative to road transport just as we assure our passengers of our commitment to their safety and improved service delivery.”
In his remarks, former Press Secretary to the Osun State Government, Mr Semiu Okanlawon commended Lagos State Government for its various reforms in the transportsector, addingthatanefficientintegrated transport system is genuinely required in an emerging Smart city with an estimated population of over 26 million people.
He specifically commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for working hard to find lasting solutions to the lingering Apapa/ Oshodi traffic bottlenecks, noting that the road is too important to the economic growth of the country to be neglected.