BY CHARLES KUMOLU
WITH statistics by the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, saying that an average of 13 people die daily on Nigerian roads, there are no doubts about the alarming rate of Road Traffic Accidents, RTA, in the country.
The FRSC data which was released in September also said the figure represented an increase of 122 or 41 percent over that of June 2017.
Apart from this recent revelation, there is hardly any local and international report about the country that has not been an issue of concern.
For instance, the World Health Organisation, WHO had in 2012 ranked Nigeria 191 out of 192 countries in the world with unsafe roads with 162 death rate per 100,000 population from RTA.trucks-park
Since that report which implied that Nigeria ranked second in global RTA index, Sunday Vanguard can categorically state that the situation has neither improved for the better.
Till date, the identified major causes of RTA which include over speeding, bad roads, overloading, fatigue, and ,bad driving habits are still common sights.
Perhaps, that informed why WHO a few years after the earlier mentioned report, stated that: “The total number of road traffic deaths has plateaued at 1.25 million per year, with the highest road traffic fatality rates in low-income countries.”
Concerned by this frightening trend, the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, conceived the Truck Transit Parks, TTPs.
In line with its responsibility of covering Nigeria’s entire transportation chain, NSC which is an agency in the Federal Ministry of Transport commenced plans for the construction of TTPs across strategic locations in the country.
Considering that shortages in parking spaces are also a major factor that often leads to damaging attitudes by drivers, the agency considered the need to create the TTPs as an antidote.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that the NSC envisaged that the TTPs would provide coordinated and conducive parking facilities for truck drivers at selected locations across the nation’s busy corridors.
The concept, perhaps may sound novel but in a document on the project sighted by Sunday Vanguard, TTPs was described as ‘’a modern, state of the art, common user facility, off the highway where truck drivers can conveniently park their vehicles, get accommodation, fuel, food, drinks, restrooms, showers and other basic supplies like oil and spare parts as well as servicing of their vehicles.”
The document further described the parks thus: “The parks are primarily intended for short-term safety breaks and also long-term parking services in high-use corridors. When fully operational, TTPs will provide security and easy tracking of cargoes along the transport chain.
“The TTP project will directly address aspects of transport infrastructure deficit in the country by providing a short-term resting place for truck drivers on long-distance travels and reduce loss to life and cargo caused by accidents arising from fatigue.
“Standard Truck Transit Parks will have the following facilities: Gas Station, Hotel, and Motel, Restaurants, Mechanic Workshop, Fire Station, Police Post, Weight Bridges, and Automated Cargo Tracking System among others”
With this description, it, is, however, obvious that the project would be capital intensive and may not see the light of the day if the conventional way of funding is employed.
On the strength of that, the NSC resorted to the Public Private Partnership,PPP, model to ensure that the Truck Transit Parks are delivered on time and within budget.
To that effect, the agency has commenced collaboration with ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, AFRIEXIM Bank, FRSC and other stakeholders.
That is in addition to a recent stakeholders forum convened in Lagos where lenders expressed readiness to invest in the venture.
Sunday Vanguard also gathered that before then, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi had initiated a feasibility study across seven identified locations.
The approved sites include Lokoja, Obollo-Afor, Jebba , Ore, Ogere, Porto Novo Creek, Onitsha, and Mararaban Jos.
Similarly, a market analysis, as well as the business and operating models, were said to have been conducted by the NSC under the supervision of the Ministry of Transportation.
Specifically, it was learnt that the financial models evaluated the economic feasibility of the project and declared it worthwhile .
That was in addition to the observation that TTPs could be a viable business in any high volume road corridor.
Further findings on the benefits of the project revealed that it can contribute to economic growth in terms of the amount of revenue that the country can generate and job creation.
It can ensure safety breaks for truck drivers thereby reducing fatigue and accidents on the highways, as well as promote safety and security of cargo and haulage vehicles while in transit.
Also called Rest Stops, the TTPs have been found to be capable of reducing theft while in transit, given that trucks would no longer park on road shoulders and access ramps.