FG Urges States To Fast-Track Construction Of Truck Transit Parks
The Federal Government has urged state governors to fast track the process of developing Truck Transit Parks (TTP) and critical road infrastructure across the country.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, made the plea at a two-day National Summit on the Establishment, Management and Operation of Truck Transit Parks in Nigeria, held in Abuja on Tuesday.
“The Federal Government shall ensure that TTP projects independently developed by state governments and private investors meet a minimum standard in the number of facilities provided at such TTP sites.
“Government plans over the next couple of years to develop Truck Transit Parks at Lokoja in Kogi State, Obollo-Afor in Enugu State, Ogere in Ogun State, Jebba in Kwara State and Porto Novo Creek in Lagos.
“The TTP are an alternative strategy to address the menace of truck congestion at the seaports in Apapa and Port Harcourt.
“These are meant to complete the Ore Sunshine City in Ondo State and the ones being processed by the Kaduna State Government at Mararaban, Jos, Buruku and Tapa on the Kaduna -Abuja highway,’’ Amaechi said.
According to him, the Federal Government focuses on the diversification of the economy, the transportation of agricultural commodities and solid mineral resources from the hinterland to the ports and the haulage.
He said that imported cargo from the ports would come to the fore with the establishment of TTPs.
Amaechi said the rail had been abandoned for over three decades which had increased the volume of trade transit within and across the country’s borders.
He said that the increasing use of the Nigerian ports as transit ports by landlocked neighboring countries of Niger and Chad gave rise to dependence on road haulage as the major means of long distance transportation of goods.
In his message to the occasion, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the absence of rail had accommodated trailers and other Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs).
Fashola, who was represented by Mr Chukwuwike Uzo, a Director in the ministry, said the activities of HGVs had made them important tools for the economic advancement of any nation.
He said that the activities of the big vehicles were not well managed, adding that this had caused traffic gridlocks and destruction of the road pavements.
“The Apapa Wharf road is a case in point where HGV drivers wanting to access the tank farms and Apapa port have turned the carriageways into parking lots.
“This has resulted in traffic gridlock affecting businesses in Apapa environs and increasing travel time for commuters traversing the road.
“Equally, the parking on the road by the HGVs has taken its toll on the Apapa-Oshodi Federal Highway and the complete collapse of the road, especially at the Apapa end of the road.
“This scenario is noticed along most other Federal Roads, especially at Tafa along the Abuja-Kaduna dual carriageway and Obollo-Afor, along Makurdi-Enugu road,’’ the minister said.
He said that the Federal Government, in a bid to curb the menace of HGVs at Apapa-Tin-Can Island area of Lagos, embarked on the construction of a 340 HGV capacity Trailer Park opposite Tin-Can Port, Apapa.
According to him, the trailer park which is the first of its magnitude in Nigeria is expected to be completed within the 2017 fiscal year.
Fashola said that when the park is completed, it would be expected to decongest the area and improve economic activities.
He, however, advised that similar TTPs should be replicated on major arterial routes and roads leading to neighbouring countries like the Lagos-Badagry road, Benin border, Ikom -Mfum road (Cameron border, Kazaure in Niger borders and other areas).
Also speaking, the Director, Road and Mass Transit, Ministry of Transportation, Mrs Antonia Ekpa, said the TTPs were established to decongest the roads and remove the havoc of the truckers.
Ekpa described a transit park as a place where trucks congregate from one part of the country to another.
“When a tanker driver drives for a longer period of time without stopping, it usually results to accident whereby trucks fall down and this has claimed lives and damaged goods on daily basis.
“It is important for a driver to find somewhere and park to relax and have access to conveniences,’’ Ekpa said.
She said that TTPs would enable truckers to park and relax before embarking on their journeys.
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, said “the truck transit park is the Council’s initiative for infrastructure change”.
“There is much deficit in infrastructure and Nigeria will have to modernise its transport infrastructure. Now, we cannot have trailers or trucks parked indiscriminately.
“That is why we said we could have a truck transit park. It is a modern way where we have parking spaces off the main way, where you have fuel stations, gas stations, hostels, shops, everything, the modern way of doing this thing,’’ Bello said.
He said that the Council was also talking with the NNPC, which would like to have its retail outlets in these structures.
According to him, we are working with other agencies of the government like the Federal Road Safety Corps, and others.
“Now, there should be some facilities which have been recommended by ECOWAS protocol on weights of goods by these trucks.
“It will reduce congestion; ensure the safety and security of cargoes. There will be trackers all over, where you track your cargo. It is a civilized way of doing things,” the executive secretary said.
Bello said the truck transit parks would enhance the transportation industry’s contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the Council had been promoting TTPs to move trucks off the highways.
“Shippers Council is promoting TTPs off the highway. The TTPs will be a one-stop-shop that can serve the truckers perfectly and this will enhance the industry’s contributions to the GDP,’’ the executive secretary said.
Bello said that the development of TTPs would reduce carnage and destruction of cargoes and vehicles on Nigerian roads.
“TTPs will reduce pilferage and theft of cargoes, while on transit. It will also afford cargo owners the means to monitor the movement of cargoes through the cargo tracking system installed in the respective TTPs,’’ he added. (NAN)