Executive Secretary/CEO, NSC, Barr. Hassan Bello

The Nigerian Shippers Council NSC is concluding plans to commence talks with the Ogun State Government towards the development of the Ogere Truck Transit Park, located at Ogere Remo on the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way in the state.

This is sequel to an assessment visit by the top management of the council led by the Executive Secretary/CEO, Barrister Hassan Bello to the truck park in the area currently used by tankers and other articulated vehicles.

Experience has however shown that this existing truck park most likely lacks the basic features of a modern Truck Transit Park TTP and also poorly managed, which leads to trucks and tankers parking on both sides of the roads in the area with the attendant rampant cases of accidents that have claimed several lives.

The Executive Secretary, who spoke shortly after an on-the-spot-inspection of the park, disclosed that the park currently used by members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers NUPENG, is substandard.

According to him, though the park has the capacity to take many trucks, the facilities, including a petrol station, are substandard and in a state of decay and therefore lacks the features of a modern Truck Transit Park.

He however said that the location of the park was good but that it would be developed to meet international standards with modern features of a TTP.

It was gathered that the proposed discussion with the Ogun State Government on the project in order to see in what areas the state government can assist in facilitating the takeoff of the project at Ogere, which is expected to be on the basis of Public-Private sector Partnership PPP.

.The NSC-boss noted that despite the shortcomings in the park especially in terms of the facilities therein, the Ogere Park is suitable because of the proximity to the seaports in Lagos.

“I have seen the Ogere Park, it is good in terms of size and location, but it does not meet the standards the government wants in the TTP project according to specification but it would be upgraded and made to comply with international standards”.

“What we saw at Ogere Remo is just a truck park, but what the government needs is a TTP with modern facilities such as hotels, hostels, chain of restaurants, shops, mini-markets, barber shops, clinics among several others where truck drivers on transit would stop over and refresh before continuing with their journeys”, Bello also said.

He also disclosed that the council has commenced discussions with National Petroleum Investment Management Services NAPIMS, the investment arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Investment Bank with a view to making them fund some of the investments in the TTP projects across the country.

The TTPs, a brainchild of the council and promoted by the Federal Ministry of Transport, is a place, equipped with some facilities and services where truck drivers congregate while on transit in the course of moving cargo from one point to the other.

Some of the facilities include but not limited to hotels and other recreational places, clinics, barber shops and other related places where truck drivers could make a stop for a time before continuing on their journey to avoid fatigue that could lead to accidents.

In line with this, the Federal Government is planning to develop TTPs in Lokoja, Kogi State, Obollo-Afor in Enugu State, Ogere in Ogun State, Jebba in Kwara State and Porto Novo Creek in Lagos.

The project is expected to be an alternative strategy to address the menace of truck congestion at the seaports in Apapa and other port locations across the country.

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, had while speaking at a recent National summit on the establishment, management and operation of TTPs in Nigeria in Abuja, said that in addition to checking the increasing  cases of carnage on the nation’s highways, the TTPs project would also minimise if not completely eliminate cargo loss associated with these carnages.

The two-day event organised by the Federal Ministry of Transport in collaboration with the Nigerian Shippers Council had the theme: ‘Truck Transit Parks, providing critical infrastructure for trade and transit in Nigeria’ including other sub-themes.

The Minister noted that the Federal Government and indeed other tiers are committed to addressing the poor transport infrastructure in the country, which is in line with its policy of diversifying the economy.

He noted that at a time the government was focusing on other sectors of the economy other the petroleum through diversification, the movement of agricultural commodities and solid mineral resources from the hinterlands to the seaport locations and haulage of imported goods from the seaports to other destination comes to the fore.

“The neglect of the rail lines for over three decades, the increasing volume of trade and transit within and across the country’s borders and the increasing usage of Nigeria’s seaports as transit ports by landlocked neighbouring countries of Republics of Nigeria and Chad gave rise to the over-dependence on road haulage as a major means of long distance transportation of goods”, the Minister said.

He however observed that though the current administration is addressing the challenges associated with rail transportation in the country through the construction of new standard gauge lines and revamping the existing narrow gauges, especially the Eastern and Western rail lines and refurbishing coaches and wagons, road haulage will continue to be a major means of movement of cargo at least for now.