The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has begun the implementation processes of Truck Transit Parks (TTP) for long-distance haulage operations across the country to reduce accidents.
The NSC and the FRSC met with stakeholders in haulage operations on Wednesday in Lagos for a Sensitisation Rally entitled, “Truck Transit Park: A Panacea for Crash-Free Haulage Operations in Nigeria”.
Speaking at the rally, Mr. Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSC, said that the event was an achievement of one of the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two agencies in November 2017.
Bello, who was represented by the Director of Special Duties, Mr. Samuel Vontua, said: “The MoU states among other things that the parties shall engage in collaborative enlightenment programmes for truck owners, drivers and the public.
“The NSC project on Truck Transit Park is one of the 114 Agriculture and Transportation Project under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) focus Labs that was organised by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.”
He said the obligations of NSC included setting benchmarks in terms of tariffs, standards and real-time service to ensure that the 3Rs of Shipping were adhered to which are Rapid, Reliable and Reasonable movement of cargoes.
The NSC boss said that the council also had the obligation to ensure best practices in the shipping and transport industry, hence the sensitisations on TTP to reduce road carnage.
Bello said: “The NSC’s partnership with the FRSC is to ensure that smooth movement of goods was facilitated through the use of Truck Transit Parks.
“A TTP is a public rest area located off a highway, designed to provide a temporary rest area for truck drivers. TTPs are primarily intended for short-term safety breaks and also long-term parking services in high-use corridors.
“It has been discovered that the main problems drivers complain about are 39 percent fatigue-related, while the main causes of road crashes are 41 percent fatigue-related. This is because most drivers sleep for just about four hours in every 24 hours”.
Also, Mr. Akin Makinde, the Director, Inland Transportation Services of NSC, said that the meeting was one of the stages in the implementation of the TTP in the country to reduce loss of lives and property on highways.
“We want to put in place truck transit parks at various intervals along our highways so that tankers and trucks drivers will not have to drive more than four hours before resting.
“We have discovered that most of the accidents on the road are because most drivers don’t rest. They just drive from the ports straight to Maiduguri and other places. The fatigue can make anything to happen on the way.
“ Also, sometimes they (drivers of articulated vehicles) park along the road and block the road. That is why we are implementing the TTP,” Makinde said.
According to him, for the truck, tanker and other long-distance drivers to use these packs, the NSC council want them to know and key into the project in order to enhance voluntary compliance.
Makinde noted that the sensitisation would be replicated in Abuja, Enugu, and Ore in Ondo State.
“By the time we do all these sensitisations, if anybody does not comply, then we can now start enforcement. The project is for the driver’s good, the good of the society and for our economy,” he added.
According to him, some of the locations of TTP are Lokoja (Kogi), Jebba (Kwara), Obollo-Afor (Enugu), Mararaban (Jos), Ogere (Ogun), Onitsha (Anambra), Port Novo Creek (Lagos), Ore (Ondo) and Jibiya (Kastina).
Others include Benin (Edo), Illela (Sokoto), Lafia (Nasarawa), Potiskum (Yobe), Gamboru Ngala (Borno), Mubi (Adamawa), Koko/Jega (Kebbi), Tafa (Kaduna) Wudil (Kano), Maigatari (Jigawa) and Ibadan (Oyo) among others.
Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal, FRSC, who described the project as apt and timely, said that the corps would continue to do its best in reducing road traffic crashes and fatalities.
Oyeyemi, who was represented by Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM) Victor Nwokolo, said that the corps would continue to tackle enforcement of rules and regulations, including the TTP whenever it starts.
According to him, the TTP requires a multi-facet enforcement that involves the FRSC and other para-military agencies to achieve the desired results.
On the challenge of underage driving raised by some stakeholders, Oyeyemi, who noted that the highway code was clear about it, said that the FRSC had been clamping down on the offenders.
The corps marshal, who said that road safety was everybody’s business, urged operators in the haulage operations to adopt self-regulation strategies for adequate safety on roads.
Also, the FRSC Sector Commander in Lagos, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, described the TTP project as a veritable tool for solving some of the traffic challenges involving haulage operations in Nigeria.
Omeje called for commitment in the implementation of the project, saying “this is the way to go as it is all over the world. We need to automate our ports and link it to the TTP to generate schedules electronically.” (NAN)