By Godwin Oritse
In a bid to further boost trade between Nigeria and landlocked countries, the Federal Government has concluded plans to site three key transport infrastructure in Enugu State as a strategy to decongesting the seaports, promote export and create more corridors for transit trade between Nigeria and her landlocked neighbouring countries of Niger and Chad.
The projects are Truck Transit Park (TTP), Inland Container Depot (ICD) and Transshipment Cargo Terminal at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. The Enugu state government last week, allocated 68 hectares of land at Obollo Afor town in Udenu Local Government Area of the state for the truck transit park.
These projects are expected to complement the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) already sited at the 9th mile area of the state, attracted by former governor of the state, Sullivan Chime.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Enugu State, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Bar. Hassan Bello, observed that the projects when actualized will reposition Enugu as a transhipment hub in West Africa sub-region, explaining that the visit of NSC management team to the state was to discuss how the TTP, ICD and transhipment air cargo terminal being promoted by the Council could meet some aspirations of the state government. The projects are being undertaking under public private partnership (PPP) among the state, private investors and the Federal Government.
According to Bello, TTP is a modern state of the art facility situated just off the Highways, designed to provide temporary rest location where truck drivers can conveniently park their vehicles in a healthy environment, get accommodation, fuel, food, drinks, rest rooms, showers and other basic suppliers like oil and spare-part as well as servicing of their vehicles. The parks are primarily intended for short-term safety breaks and also long-term parking services in high-use corridors.
Explaining that the NSC as a regulatory agency for the projects, is facilitating the development of TTPs at eight locations across the country, with Obollo Afor inclusive, he noted that in line with the decisions of the 13th National Council on Transport (NCT) in November, 2013 in Lagos, state governments interested in the development of TTPs could either do so separately or in collaboration with Federal Government.
Kogi State, he added, had allocated over 45 hectares of land for the establishment of a pilot TTP project at Ohono village, along the Abuja-Lokoja way, while the Kaduna State government is finalizing arrangement for the development of its TTP project at three locations across the state.
He further explained, “The Federal Government policy direction is for the TTP projects to be private sector driven under a PPP arrangement.
Under this arrangement, the state government shall undertake the obligation of providing land as well as basic infrastructure, including access road, electricity and water supply. The private sector concessionaire shall provide investment, management and maintenance for the success of the projects.”
Bello listed the benefits of a TTP as provision of reliable and convenient parking facilities for truck drivers; provision of cargo safety and reduction in cargo pilferage and loss on transit; improved Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the state; facilitate smooth movement and timely delivery of transit cargoes to the landlocked neighbouring countries; creation of employment opportunities and related socio-economic services; among others.