The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set standards for truck owners and drivers.
The MoU is expected to deliver effective services anchored on standard compliance, a move that would significantly reduce the incidents of breakdown of trucks on Apapa port access roads, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello has said.
He revealed that the MoU was also intended to generate a database on trucks, training, Vehicle Transit Areas (VTAs) implementation, public education, enlightenment and others.
Bello disclosed this during an interactive session with the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr. Boboye Opeyemi and haulage operators in Lagos.
Also, he said the conceptualisation and development of Truck Transit Parks (TTPs), now called VTAs would provide convenient rest areas for truckers and other road users to ensure the safety of lives and cargoes in the country.
According to him, “We have signed an MoU with the FRSC that would ensure standards among our truckers.
Also, we believe that the efficient utilisation of VTAs would ensure efficient and effective service delivery across the nation’s transport chain and reduce accidents resulting from drivers’ fatigue.”
He added that the corps marshal’s support of the council’s projects and activities had accelerated the achievements of major milestones in the development of critical infrastructure for trade facilitation.
He said to facilitate the development of critical transport infrastructure, which supports trade and standards enforcement, the council was promoting two major transport infrastructures, namely Inland Dry Ports and VTA project.
He noted that the development of the VTA to provide convenient rest facilities for truckers as conceptualised by the shippers’ council, was aimed at furthering safety of truckers and goods; including other category of road users.
He said, “NSC also has the mandate to ensure efficient and effective service delivery is enforced across the transport chain. Our partnership between the NSC and the FRSC has recorded reasonable landmarks, especially in traffic management and safety of cargo in transit.”
In his speech, Opeyemi lamented that some truck accidents occur because most truck heads are pulling more than they were built to handle, while others carrying the actual size have already outlived their lifespan.
Another issue, which leads to accidents pointed out by the Corps Marshal, was that several trucks in the nation operate without taillights and tailboard reflectors that should enable other road users quickly spot trucks at night.
He stressed the need for an intervention from the federal government to ensure truckers had fleet renewal as vehicles that had been on the road for 30-years should be scrapped.
He commended the NSC for the VTA project, which he described as ingenious; and called for more stakeholders’ engagement, to achieve the desired results even as harped on need for engagement rather than by enforcement.
On the Apapa traffic gridlock, the Corps Marsal pledged to work with NSC in a bid to proffer lasting solutions to the traffic menace, adding that he would also engage the Ministry of Works and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo on the issue.
“With effective collaboration between FRSC, Shippers’ Council and other stakeholders, we can get the desired results to eliminate the Apapa traffic gridlock.
“The stakeholders have keyed into the MoU signed between NSC and FRSC to address several critical areas of road haulage.
“With the full implementation of the MoU and other plans with NSC and other stakeholders, we should see a new road haulage system in the country in terms of minimum safety standards, training of truck drivers, and linkages in terms of access to drivers’ license database for truck operators as well as the Apapa traffic situation. NSC will work out the immediate implementation because we are talking about actions that lead to the loss of lives and valuable properties,” Boboye said.
Also, speaking, the Assistant Director, Inland Transport Service Department, NSC, Mr. Nanbol Nanle said that the VTA project would need a public-private partnership to thrive.
Nanle pointed out that the main objective of the project was to provide a place of rest for truck operators, and a measure of comfort for them to reduce fatigue and accidents on the roads.
He said the facility would include mechanic workshops, hotels, health centre, police posts, fuel stations, warehousing, weighbridge, fire services, cave area, and others.
Also, the Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi pledged support of truck operators to the new initiatives by FRSC and NSC.
He, however, noted that most used trucks imported into Nigeria were outdated vehicles that had failed roadworthiness test in foreign countries.