Truck Transit Parks will check carnage on Nigeria’s highways- Minister
The Federal Government has said that the proposed establishment of Truck Transit Parks TTPs across highways in the country would help the worsening carnage on the highways associated with fatigues and other logistic challenges on the part of the truck drivers.
The TTPs, a brainchild of the Nigerian Shippers 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.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Aamaech, who spoke at the ongoing two-day National summit on the establishment, management and operation of TTPs in Nigeria in Abuja, 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.
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.
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 gauge Eastern and Western rail lines and refurbishing coaches and wagons, road haulage will continue to be a mojor means of movement of cargo at least for now.
It is in line with this that the government believes that movement of goods by road must be given adequate attention, which informed the need to establish the parks, which will be a major means of transportation of long distance transportation of goods and commodities.
He however noted that these and other challenges gave rise to the concept of TTP, which will provide a stop-gap.
“The high statistics of road accidents and loss of cargo occasioned by the poor state of the roads is a major source of concern to the Federal Government. Also environment degradation is another negative impact of excessive use of the roads by heavy duty vehicles”
“It is also to this end that the imperative of providing truck transit parks also known as truck terminal/rest shops comes to mind, thus necessitating the Ministry and Shippers Council to convene this summit”, he said.
It was however gathered that the government is planning to develop truck terminals over the new few years at Lokoja in Kogi State, Obollo –Afo in Enugu State, Ogere in Ogun State, Jebba in Kwara State and Port Novo Creek in Lagos as an alternative strategy to address the panacea to address the menace of truck congestion at the seaports in Apapa and Port Harcourt.
He expressed the hope that the project, which will be built under a public- private partnership initiative will achieve optimum result.