Nigeria’s transportation sector: Using digital, automated technology to drive greater efficiency
Transportation and logistics are fundamental to the growth of every society because they serve as the gateway and fulcrum in the movement of goods and services.
This makes it fundamental to the growth of Nigeria’s economy because products and services cannot get to their final destinations without transportation.
The sector is a key factor in all aspects of national development because its process involves collecting, assembling, transferring and distributing goods, services and people from one location to another timely, safely and securely.
Its importance to national development cannot be over emphasized, thereby making it a catalyst to the growth of the economy.
In Nigeria, the sector has been experiencing some challenges due to deficiencies in modern digital technology usage, modern transport policies, infrastructure deficit, lack of professionalism, lack of modern communication equipment in addition to lack of modern safety and security system in driving and monitoring gaps in the system.
Our nation loses billions of dollars annually as a result of these gaps and it is very important for our nation to build more efficient and productive transport system to drive the growth needed in our economy through attracting more investments (foreign and local) as well as create more business and employment opportunities.
Therefore, having a more efficient transport system will help stimulate growth as well as ensure continuity and longevity in the sector.
If the sector is given the necessary attention and properly managed it can create diverse business, employment opportunities, open the economy and cushion the effect of COVID-19.
Also, for the sector to be more productive and efficient it would require the use of modern digital technology in driving it, hire well trained professionals with the right knowledge, skills, exposure, and network in driving the change.
The sector is performing below standard, and this is responsible for the high number of injuries, deaths caused by accidents, kidnappings, robberies, and other forms of insecurity across all the modes of the sector due to poor roads, lack of modern technology and infrastructure usage, inadequate communication devices, poor training and retraining of personnel, etc.
Note the sector contribution to the nations GDP decreased to N191.448.27 billion in the first quarter of 2022 from N335.660.13 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Some of these challenges are responsible for the regular traffic congestion, high level insecurity, increased pollution, poor maintenance culture, and ocean pollution due to oil spills as well as other major challenges existing in the sector. Interestingly, Nigeria’s economy and its transportation sector are inseparable.
The sector lacks an efficient system equipped with modern policies, technology, personnel with the right skills and knowledge that will enable it to manage current challenges and plan properly.
One of the best solutions to manage these challenges is implementation of the use of modern digital and automated technology systems. This will help it forecast and adapt swiftly to challenges as they arise.
It will also make the sector to be more resilient, safer, secured and become more responsive to changes capable of affecting it.
While the sector is one of the most important elements in the economy of the nation. It can negatively impact development in the nation as well as the welfare of its citizens, if not properly managed.
It is also important to state that poor management of the sector can have both diverse impacts (direct and indirect) to the economy of the nation.
Direct impacts are the areas relating to accessibility where transport enables products from the rural areas to get to the cities, saving time and ensuring safety.
Indirect impacts relate to the multiplier effects to the economy of the nation where the price of commodities, goods or services are reduced or increased due to demand and supply.
Also, transportation facilitates movement of goods and services as well as boosting the service industry and creating a more sustainable transportation system, which helps increase the demand of services across the different modes.
It will also help increase efficiency, productivity as well as increase the sector contribution to the nation’s GDP and add more value to the lives of the citizens.
Modern digital technologies will help boost traffic management systems and make customers more secured, safe, informed, smarter as well as function more productively.
Additionally, automated technology systems will facilitate growth and maintenance of a quote-to-invoice process, improve internal, external efficiency and user satisfaction which includes project and change management.
It will also help detect needs from the field and transforming them to solutions and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
They also help in facilitating digital documentation chains where transportation can move away from using physical documents as well as detect problems before they occur, thereby boosting supply chain management.
Digitalization and automated technology will also help improve efficiency, quality and they make organisations solve problems before they occur. They also facilitate excellent sales opportunities in addition to promoting quality customer relationship management.
Also, using innovative technologies such as cloud-based services, mobile devices and applications (or Apps), integrated security surveillance and monitoring systems, sensors, internet of things (or IoT), autonomous transportation, block chain technology and big data will also help achieve greater efficiency.
On the strength of the above, it is important that the Federal Government prioritise the sector for greater efficiency as it would help facilitate socioeconomic opportunities that can have direct multiplier effects on the economy, especially in areas such as better accessibility to markets, reduction of idle time, creation of business and employment opportunities, attraction of foreign and local investment opportunities, etc.
Nigeria’s transport sector can be more productive, efficient and so revolutionising the overall value chain will make the future increasingly bright for digital, automated and smarter technology solutions usage.