• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Experts see efficient cargo movement, port operations on effective intermodal transport

The flawed Nigerian transportation system

Maritime experts have identified an effective intermodal transportation system in the country as a means of achieving timely cargo movement to the importers’ warehouse that will in turn lead to efficient port operations.

Achieving an intermodal transport system, they said, which means having an effective inland water transport, rail transport and road transportation, will enable ease of doing business in the nation’s gateway as this will ensure fast delivery of cargo to the importers’ warehouse.

Iyiola Oni, head, Geography Department of the University of Lagos, who noted these recently in a forum held in Lagos said that government is not paying adequate attention to the means of evacuating goods from the seaports using road and rail transportation. He added that lack of motorable roads and effective road networks to aid movement of trucks and evacuation of goods from the seaports is a major hindrance to efficient port operations.

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“Integration of transport modals in Nigeria has been neglected. Thus, seaports and airports are developed without regard for their linkages by road and rail,” he said.

Oni, who believes that an effective inter connected transportation system will provide rapid economic growth through a reduction in the cost of transport, said that Nigerian government has no plan to build an effective inter-modal transportation in the country.

He advocated for the incorporation of different modes of transport in the country into a national mode to achieve optimal passenger and freight movement efficiency as well as safety. He described government’s port concession initiative as a global trend that has led to increased cargo movement but due to lack of good motorable roads and effective cargo movement through rail, the initiative would compound port congestion due poor cargo movement.

In his own view, Kayode Abdulaziz Olowu, managing director of Multimodal Transport Technology, a water transport operator in an interview with BusinessDay described intermodal transport as the way to go in mass transportation saying that it creates ease of doing businesses by enabling passengers and laden goods to pick vehicle or train to its destination on arrival from the ports.

Olowu, who noted that transport infrastructure, has to be right for Nigeria to achieve intermodal transport system, said that rail transport in the past few years is doing well but to a certain extent the Nigerian Rail Corporation (NRC) still needs to do better in terms of building standard rail infrastructure.

“There is need to rebuild most of the current rail infrastructure that we have because what the NRC is doing now is rehabilitation of the existing rail tracks and the new trains in the globe today cannot operate on these old tracks.

“Also, there is also need for states to team-up and build inter-cities rail lines and to encourage trade, movement of passengers and goods and create the ease of doing business,” he added.