By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-In a bid to stop the degradation of the environment by trucks that haphazardly and dangerously park in towns, the Federal government has said that it is intensifying efforts to establish Truck Transit Parks.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Barr. Hassan Bello, who spoke to the Press on Tuesday in Abuja, said that plans are on going to begin building the TTPs in two states-Enugu and Kogi states.
Bello who noted that the Truck Transit Parks are private sector-led endeavours, added that there is need to have more than transport infrastructure, saying that the Federal Ministry of Transportation is supporting it.
“Nigeria Shippers’ Council is working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, (ICRC). So far we have two that are coming.
“The one at Enugu, Enugu state government has donated land to NSC and also one in Lokoja, the Kogi state government has also donated land to NSC. We are concluding with ICRC and in two-weeks time, there will be expression of interest to the private sector to come and bid and if that is done, construction will take 16 months for us to complete Truck Transit Parks in the two locations”.
He further stated that others are coming up and have been scrutinized under the focus lab supervised by the Ministry of Budget and Planning and office of the Vice President, adding that there have been tremendous response from international investors.
“We are watching, many states have expressed willingness to have Truck Transit Parks, because of their revenue stream, we need to involve a lot of stakeholders including the state government and the local givernment and various unions of transport workers, the drivers” he added.
Speaking on the dry port, he said that it is also private sector driven and NSC is just the promoter.“We have Kaduna that have been commissioned in January of this year and so far things are moving on. The Central Bank has recognised Kaduna as a port, so it is there in electronic Form ‘M’ for people trying to make transactions.
“The idea of the dry port is to avoid the mistakes of the sea ports, we don’t want congestions there, we need to operate it 24 hours, goods are cleared within 48 hours so NSC is working with the Nigerian Ports Authority to make sure that this is done.
“NEXIM bank also has inspected the Kaduna dry port in order to support certain things which should be added. Like consolidation centres, little factories and also refrigerated warehouses… But there are a lot of challenges because the container traffic from Kaduna suddenly dropped in April” Bello explained.
He stressed that the ports are hall marks of diversification of Nigerian’s economy, adding that NSC is encouraging export of agricultural product such as ginger, cow horn and charcoal.
On the challenges, he said that lack of locomotives and wagon are the major challenges, saying, that the success of dry port depends actually on rail connection.
In his words, “NRC has promised to give 10 wagons and two locomotives to Kaduna because there are cargo there. We need all the dry ports to be considered in the arrangement with Intranet and the GE in terms of rail connection and also because they are ports, other operators will benefit more from that. As soon as we get the trains you will see a surge of imports and export to Kaduna”
He called on Kaduna state government to help complete the access road to the dry port, so there will be an entrance and exit to eliminate congestions.