Stakeholders, State Governments’ response to Truck Transit project encouraging, says Bello
Bello, Shippers Council boss
The Nigerian Shippers Council has said it is encouraged and satisfied with the response of stakeholders and commended state governments in the Truck Transit Parks TTPs, project to be cited in the six geo-political zones of the country.
The TTPs, a brainchild of the council, is a place where trucks and their drivers congregate while they are in transit in the course of moving cargo from one point to the other.
Such facilities are to be equipped with hotel facilities, recreational places, clinics, barber shops and other related placed where truck drivers could make a stop for a time before continuing on their journey to avoid fatigue that could lead to accidents.
Executive Secretary of the council, Barrister Hassan Bello, who spoke at the just concluded two-day National Summit on the on the establishment, management and operation of TTPs in Nigeria held in Abuja said the council was impressed by the interest shown by the various stakeholders including the state governments, which culminated in the high level of participation at the summit.
Available records show that no fewer than seven state governments took part in the two-day event, as many stakeholders in the supply chain covering importers and exporters, haulage firms and freight forwarders as well as deputy governors and state commissioners participated personally in the event.
He also commended financial institutions and the Federal Road Safety Service, FRSC, for strong participation at the summit, and noted that the road safety agency has always played a big role in ensuring sanity on the nation’s roads, which he said has reduced carnage with the attendant loss of lives and valuable property.
He disclosed that the council decided to facilitate the TTPs because of the crucial role they are expected to play in the growth and development of the national economy, especially in terms of trade facilitation.
This, he believes is in view of the importance of road haulage in the country, without which the national economy will suffer, especially given the state of the rail system in the country.
According to him, the council was promoting was a seamless transport system for the benefit of the nation’s economy, adding that there must be a network of coordination to know where the trucks could be at all times.
He said: “There has to be a tracking of the movement of the trucks from the seaport to the final location. There is therefore need to spell out the number of kilometres or distance for which the truck driver will run from his place of departure and the particular TTPs to make a stopover to rest before continuing with the journey “.
Bello however made a strong case for the evolution of a regulatory framework in terms of the introduction of operating standards in the operation of the TTPs, adding that there must also be strong coordination in the movement of the trucks from their port of departure to their various destinations.
The NSC boss argued that these factors should be given due consideration in the construction of TTPs, so that trucks do not go such a long distance before parking for rest, which might defeat the whole essence of the project.
The NSC-boss also said that there was need to introduce a deliberate policy to regulate and checkmate the proliferation of TTPs with a view to maintaining internationally acceptable standards for the truck terminals.
He particularly called for strong enforcement of these standards, which he argued are imperative so that trucks do not just park anywhere outside the approved TTPs, which will defeat the purpose of the project.
He also urged the private sector operators to provide instrument of enforcement of the TTP objectives, adding that investment in the acquisition of towing vans were necessary to ensure that broken down trucks do not litter the highways and constitute a menace to other road users.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Aamaech, had while speaking at the two-day summit, said that in addition to checking the worsening cases of carnage on the nation’s highways, the 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 has 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.