The Federal Government is inviting the buy-in of state governors to fast track the process of developing Truck Transit Parks(TTP) as critical infrastructure across various locations in Nigeria.
The Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi stated this on Tuesday while speaking on the occasion of the National Summit on the Establishment, Management and Operations of Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) in the country at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja.
He said the federal government would ensure that TTP projects independently developed by state governments and private investors meet a minimum standard in the number of facilities provided at the TTP sites.
According to him, the federal government would also ensure that TTPs become economic and business hubs creating wealth and employment for the teeming population particularly Nigerian youths.
Amaechi said that the plans of the government in the next couple of years would be to develop TTPs at Lokoja, Obollo-Afor, Ogere, Jebba and Port Novo Creek in Lagos state as an alternative strategy to address the menace of truck congestion at the seaports in Apapa and Port Harcourt.
These, he said, would complement the one in Ore Sunshine City in Ondo State and the ones being processed by the Kaduna State Government at Mararaba Jos, Buruku and Tapa on the Kaduna –Abuja Highway.
He said government has discovered that the provision of truck transit parks, also referred to as truck terminals or rest stops would address issues associated with accidents, loss of cargo and environmental degradation resulting from excessive usage of roads by heavy duty vehicles.
He said: “The high statistics of road accidents and loss of cargo occasioned by bad road is of concern to government. Environmental degradation is another negative impact of excessive usage of roads by heavy duty vehicles.
“It is to this end that the imperative of providing truck transit parks comes to the fore necessitating the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to convene this National Summit on the theme “Truck Transit Parks (TTP): Providing Critical Infrastructure for Trade and Transit in Nigeria.”
He also said the neglect of the rail lines for about three decades, the increasing volume of trade and transit within and across the country’s borders, and the increasing usage of Nigerian ports as transit port by landlord neighbouring countries of Niger and Chad gave rise to dependence on road haulage as the major means of long distance transportation of goods.
Amaechi added that though the federal government is currently addressing the railways frontally through the construction of new standard gauge rail lines, revamping of existing narrow gauge eastern and western rail lines and refurbishing of coaches and wagons, road haulage would for sometime continue to be the major means for long distance transportation of goods and commodities.
Stressing the need for TTPs, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said if the activities of big vehicles were not well managed, they would become a big menace to the society.
Fashola who was represented on the occasion by the Director of HighWay in his Ministry, Engr. Chukwunwike Uzo, said Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) cause serious traffic gridlocks and destroy road pavement.
Fashola said Apapa Wharf road was a case in point where HGV drivers wanting to access the tank farms and Apapa port have turned the road carriageways and shoulders into parking lots.
He said that it was in a bid to curb the menace of HGVs at the Apapa-Tin Can area of Lagos that forced the federal government to embark on the construction of a 340 HGV capacity trailer part opposite Tin Can Island port.
“The park when completed is expected to decongest the area and improve economic activities. 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(Cameroun border) and Kazaure-Kongolam Takeita (Niger border)”, he said.
He called on the private investors to participate in the project as a result of the high financial outlay of the TTPs.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu also called on the Dangote Group and other companies into oil refinery projects to consider investing in TTPs.
Kachikwu said that his become necessary considering the number of trucks and oil tankers owned by these companies that are on the road on daily basis.
He called on the firms to consider such project between 2019 and 2020 because of the refinery projects which will lead to more tankers being on the road.