Chinese investors, Oyo Govt. embrace Shippers Council’s Inland Port project
From left: Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello during a courtesy visit to the governor in Ibadan, recently.
BY FRANCIS EZEM
Strong indications emerged that foreign direct investors, especially from China and the Oyo State Government have agreed to partner the Nigerian Shippers Council in the development Inland Dry Ports IDP and Truck Transit Parks TTPs across the federation.
The IDPs are port facilities located in the hinterland areas of the country meant for the transshipment of import and export cargo to and from the conventional, thus bringing shipping services to the door steps of shippers in the hinter lands and also helping in decongesting the seaports.
The TTPs are designed to provide a temporary stoppage and resting place for truck drivers conveying cargo on long distances to check fatigue and resultant accidents.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi at the Governor’s Office Ibadan, Oyo State, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said such partnership arrangements had become necessary to ensure the success of the two projects spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.
According to him, collaborating with the Oyo State Government in particular on the establishment of the IDPs will bring about a lot of developments to the Nigeria’s economy, adding that Oyo State was crucial to the development of transportation of the nation in view of its strategic location.
He said: “Since 2006, the Federal Government had taken a decision to establish Inland Dry Ports in the six geo-political zones of the country of which Oyo State is one. You know that transportation as a driving force in the national economy, and so the establishment of IDP and TTP in the state will provide job opportunities and create wealth for Oyo State.
“In the light of this, the ongoing rail project being championed by the Federal Ministry of Transport will be a big boost to the IDPs, as it will help decongest the heavy traffic on the road as well as facilitate easy movement of goods from seaports in Lagos to different other port locations across the country”.
It was however gathered that the proposed TTP project alone would gulp N4.8 billion through the Public Private Partnership PPP, as the facilities will include shopping malls, hotels, motels, worship centres, commercial banks, restaurants and barbers shops, among others.
Bello explained that the idea of TTP was to have a secure and convenient place for truck drivers to have as resting places while moving goods from one location to the other to forestall fatigue arising from long period of driving that could lead to fatal accidents.
The council had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU with some Chinese investors for the development Ibadan Dry Port project. It is also believed that the interest shown by the Chinese investors was in consideration of the strategic importance of the ancient city of Ibadan.
The NSC-boss therefore solicited the support of Oyo State Government for their allocation of the land for the development of the TTP project.
Governor Ajimobi had while speaking during the visit, said he was impressed by the two concepts and thus assured the council of the state government’s support and therefore urged council to hasten the paper works required for an early takeoff of the projects.
He said that there was no reason the state should not have started the project much earlier, considering the geographical and human capital advantages Oyo state has over other states.
The Governor, who called for the setting up of a committee between the two partners for a successful and speedy implementation of the projects, said that the project would bring about a remarkable reduction in road carnage, improvement in economic activities and job opportunities.