How intermodal transport will reduce carnage, congestion on roads
Stakeholders in the transport sector have stressed the need for effective intermodal transport architecture to properly link railway to the inland waterways, ports, and road transport network for more effective and efficient logistics penetration.
The operators, who spoke in Lagos, observed that rail transportation development is an integral part of multimodal freight logistics, which has been neglected for long.
They said this trend must stop, if Nigeria is to fully realise her socio-economic potential.Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Hyginus Omeje, said that only an intermodal transportation system would reduce congestion and carnage on the roads.
Omeje, who received the award of 2019 Road Safety Ambassador, decried flagrant disregard of road traffic rules and regulations, which are often the bane of avoidable crashes and fatalities.
According to him, the road transport system is overburdened; over 90 per cent of freight movement is done by road. Most road traffic accidents are avoidable, if the rail system has been working fine as many containers that have caused disasters on the road will have gone by rail or water.
Speaking on the importance of rail, he said the rail helps to move more goods at a cheaper rate than going through the road. “And we do not even know the effect of these things, especially the atmospheric pollution and the destruction of the ozone layers that is ongoing. You also look at the high incidents of crashes on our roads, we have cases of large containers falling, causing obstruction on the road and killing people. Those things are all avoidable, if our rail system has been working.
“As we open up the rail transport and modernise it, we should also look at our inland waterways. We have all these potential that will aid our transportation system. We need an efficient water transport system.
“The massive infrastructure development going on in the rail sector is a very positive indicator that sooner than we think, we will really get there.
“I can’t wait to see the Lagos-Ibadan rail project being completed and people using it,” the FRSC boss said.Omeje, who commended TCAN for the recognition and media support over the years, said the FRSC was committed to sensitisation and education of motoring public on the proper use of the highways.
Chairman, Board of Directors, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Ibrahim Alhassan-Musa, said roads and bridges in Nigeria had capacities but unfortunately, road users don’t respect that capacity.
Alhassan-Musa said Nigerian roads don’t last due to abuses. “We used to have weigh bridges but they are no longer functioning. If they are functional, heavy duty vehicles are supposed to weigh their vehicles before plying specific routes.
“When you are on the railway, checkpoints for produce of live stocks, and other revenues are all billed into the trading of goods in Nigeria. Somebody bringing foodstuffs, vegetables to Lagos add costs to it because in every State, they have to pay something for revenue.
“Whereas the states don’t add any value to them because they are on federal roads but still they have to pay taxes. If you use the railway, the additional cost will not be there. And also illegal checkpoints are there from local and state governments. We will continue to thank Nigerians for support the railway projects,” he said.
Managing Director (MD), NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said work was ongoing on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail line in spite of the coronavirus outbreak.Okhiria said that track-laying would reach Ebute-Metta Junction by March end.
The MD added that covid-19 had affected virtually every sector, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), the contractor handling the project, has not stopped work.“All things being equal, by the end of March, the track will get to Ebute-Metta Junction and we will be able to move the trial running to Ebute-Metta Junction instead of Iju Station.”