Nigeria’s transportation: Adopting more efficient human resource strategy for growth

Transportation and logistics are integral parts of any society. Their strategic importance cannot be underestimated as products and services must reach their final consumers.

The importance of the sector to the overall development of any nation cannot be over-emphasized as transport innovation was a catalyst for growth in the 19th-century industrial revolution, and innovations in transport and logistics also led to the economic and environmental drivers of the technology revolution of the 21st century.

The sector is a key factor in all aspects of national development and its process involves the need to collect, assemble, transfer, and distribute goods, services, and people from one location to another.

Transportation systems globally have been experiencing challenges and this has made organisations and nations globally adopt modern strategies to adapt to changes. Thanks to modern digital technology systems, education, training, partnerships, and innovation which help provide swift interconnected services across the different modes (railway, land maritime, and air). It also consists of traffic management systems that enable users to be safer, more informed, be coordinated and smarter as well as function more productively.

For example, modern transport systems are now relying on intelligent transport systems to disrupt industries while also adding value to their own and so it is very important that our nation follows suit.

Innovative technologies such as cloud-based services, mobile devices and applications (or Apps), sensors, and the internet of things (or IoT), are helping drive augmented reality, autonomous transportation, blockchain technology, and big data.

All these help in increasing productivity and lending efficiency to modern-day transportation systems as well as revolutionise the overall value chain of the sector which means the future is increasingly bright for innovation, hiring, training, and research in transportation management technology if we work towards achieving smarter solutions.

Nigeria’s transport system has the capacity to be one of the best in the world if well managed and so upgrading some of our policies in hiring, training and human resource development will go a long way in growing the sector and our economy.

Also, it will help complement the existing success achieved in the railway sector especially the Lagos–Ibadan railway project, revitalisation of Ibadan-Kano and Itakpe to Warri railway projects as well as the Port-Harcourt–Maiduguri line, Port Harcourt–Calabar, as well as Lagos to Calabar line.

To drive our transport system to the next level, it is important we adopt strategies that will help harness the potential of the sector by hiring trained professionals that are innovative and can create business and employment opportunities as obtained in developed nations.

Human resources development is the process of increasing the knowledge, skills, and capacities of people in an organization, it can also be described as the accumulation of human capital and its effective investment in the development of an economy.

While it is important to state that sustainability and efficiency of transportation in Nigeria largely depend on how knowledgeable stakeholders are, it is also important to consider improving the level of knowledge invested in employees within the sector.

This is because the sector has been facing challenges especially in areas such as security, safety, loss of revenue, lack of innovation in addition to lack of skilled professionals that are needed to drive the sector.

Therefore, adopting modern strategies to improve the capacities of employees would require more knowledge, innovation, and skills to match the level of challenges facing the sector.

Most of these challenges can be traced to a lack of experienced transport professionals to drive the change we desire in addition to failures traceable to poor human resources development. Therefore, developing modern strategies and solutions will help address it. This will go a long way in boosting the performance of the sector. It is also important to state that human resources development is very broad as it is more than just hiring and employing people.

It is more about charting the right direction, management of people, finance, infrastructure, making strategic plans as well as nurturing of human talents, etc. to maximize growth in the sector. It will require a well-coordinated transport planning and research system for it to achieve its goal.

When this is done, it will help maximize and secure the best use of natural and acquired advantages because it needs well-trained professionals that can help design better network facilities, while taking the environment, policies, laws, and the economy into consideration. Additionally, the establishment of well-structured and efficient training centers, trained personnel, a good security network, and safety operational systems will help add more value to the sector.

It is also important to state that deficiencies in the supply of transport professionals can hinder growth in the sector. For example, maximizing the use of technology in driving growth, keeping up with legislative changes, maintaining safe practices, and reaching a ‘no harm’ goal in the sector, the limited available rest stops and dealing with the flow-on effect on fatigue management etc.

Therefore, sustainability and growth of the sector largely depend on the number of human resources development systems available in the sector e.g., transport planners, transport educational institutions, training centres, facilities management, economists, engineers, trainers, policies, and laws that will help stimulate growth and development through meaningful participation by stakeholders.

Nigeria’s transportation sector, therefore, needs to employ more trained transport professionals to manage the sector across the board. They would help in formulating the right policies needed to take the sector to higher grounds as well as operate modern transport services at local, state, and federal levels.

This would help to create information systems that would help educate stakeholders to make the right inputs in policy formulation, build capacity to advise them to make the right decisions. It will also positively impact transport development and awareness in communicating in modern-day society.

Finally, emphasizing the importance of training in the sector is important because it will facilitate continuity as well as improve standard across modes as well as provide a platform of acquiring modern skills, and improvement of knowledge, so they do not end with carriers of such knowledge. When all these are done, it will help the sector increase profit, market share as well as make it more competitive.