The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has said it is encouraged and satisfied with the response of states governments to its Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) initiative.
It also said it was pleased with the response of stakeholders in the maritime industry to the idea of the TTPs which is expected to be sited in the six geo-political zones of the country.
The TTPs was conceived by NSC as 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.
To ensure that the TTPs are attractive to the drivers, it is expected to be equipped with hotel facilities, recreational places, clinics, barber shops, among other things.
The truck drivers are expected to stop in these TTPs and rest for a while before continuing on their journey. This is aimed at avoiding fatigue that could lead to accidents which is prevalent among drivers of articulated vehicles.
The Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello who stated this at the just concluded two-day national summit on the on the establishment, management and operation of TTPs in Nigeria 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 showed that no fewer than seven state governments took part in the two-day event, as many stakeholders in the supply chain includingÂ importers and exporters, haulage firms and freight forwarders, deputy governors and state commissioners participated actively in the event.
He also commended financial institutions and the Federal Road Safety Service (FRSC) for their strong participation at the summit.
The NSC boss noted that the FRSC has always played a big role in ensuring sanity on the nationâ€™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 Bello, what NSC was promoting was a seamless transport system for the benefit of the nationâ€™s economy. There must be a network of co-ordination to know where the trucks could be at all times.
His words: â€œThere 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 journeyâ€.
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.
He argued that these factors should be given due consideration in the construction of the TTPs, so that the trucks do not go such a long distance before parking for rest, which might defeat the whole essence of the project.
According to him, 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.
Bello 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 instruments of enforcement of the TTP objectives, adding that investments 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.