The President of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh has assured stakeholders that the institute will collaborate with other government agencies to ease the gridlock on ports access roads, introduce volunteer service for a more effective intermodal transportation and make the nation’s ports become more competitive.
He stated this in Lagos at his investiture ceremony as the newly elected President of CIoTA, stressing that it was efficiency that made other countries’ ports competitive.
“The problem of this sector is synonymous to the problems of Nigeria. We as professionals we will try to look at the problems from three aspects: there are the problems we can solve on the short term, medium term and long term basis.
“We will collaborate with ports security and other agencies to see how we can ease off the Apapa gridlock which is the short term aspect”, he said, adding that the introduction of intermodal transportation would stop constant traffic on the ports access roads and reduce costs of doing business,” he said.
He stressed that intermodal transportation was essential in moving cargo, noting that once there is ease of transportation, things would move easily, and commended the federal government on the rail revolution.
“Today we are using rail line from Abuja to Kaduna which was completed by this government. There is also mono rail transport from Abuja city to Airport, the Lagos -Abeokuta is already functioning and now Abeokuta to Ibadan. By the time we start looking at the cargo movement using the rail line, you agree with me that most of traffic problems will now reduce to about 40 to 50 per cent.
“For example, in Singapore it takes less than 24-hours to clear cargo from the port but when you come to our port it takes seven days to clear cargo out of the port. As an association, what we intend to do is to introduce volunteer services to see how we can ease the traffic situation as a short term,” he said.
He said there was need for possible utilisation of the Inland Water Services, adding that most of the cargos coming through the Western ports were heading toward the North.
Jamoh, who is also Executive Director, Finance, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said that Baro Inland Port had been inaugurated to accommodate cargoes going to the north.
In his keynote address, the Chairman, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi, challenged the institute on initiatives that would make the sector effective, adding that the country has moved from the primitive economy to a modern economy with transportation as the key to these developments, and noted that part of underperformance reason is why we have not been effective in the transportation sector.
“The transport sector has deteriorated and has not been maintained in Nigeria. Petroleum product, which is the bane of the problem in our country, is also the reason why you cannot enter Apapa as the tank farms are all there, because it is near the sea.
“The product went from Port Harcourt refinery and came to Gauzo by rail. Today, the roads that we have built have been destroyed with tankers running from Lagos to every corner of our country, making transportation ineffective,” he said.
Utomi, condemned the celebration of railway construction, stating that they were once in existence but has deteriorated so much that we now see the new ones as a big deal, when things should be getting better as in other countries.
He said: “When Lagos was still a small coastal state, then I schooled in Ibadan and lived in Lagos, and I use to go to school then by train and back. Trains were used then to transport oil products to places like Gauzo, Uzoro and all over the country. Today they are not working.
“How did we allow rail infrastructure to deteriorate so much and then we are now celebrating that we are doing Lagos-Ibadan rail and all of that. It should never have gotten to this. Things should be getting better and better as it has been done everywhere else in the world.
“It is a crying shame that trucks could move out for a political rally and are back again, it could have been an opportunity to stay wherever you parked within these couple of days go and stay there. When it is your turn to come in take your numbers, we call you up, you drive in, pick up your goods and move out, but you don’t cluster and not bring the city to a standstill as we have it.”