June 2, 2024

Lagos Gridlock: Sanwo-Olu explores local content to boost mass movement on waterways

Lagos Gridlock: Sanwo-Olu explores local content to boost mass movement on waterways

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

As part of activities to mark the firstanniversary of the second term in office, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, May 29, marked the anniversary with a unique infrastructure gift to Lagos residents.

The Governor, at Badore Ferry Terminal, launched a fleet of 15 out of 25 new high-capacity ferries, fabricated and assembled in Lagos to cruise the state’s inland waterways creating a new transportation choice for commuters in the largest mega city in sub-Saharan Africa through local content application.

The15 boats have the capacity to carry 40 passengers each as against the 20 passengers limit in  the existing vessels. The ferries were manufactured by Caverton Marine in a factory jointly run by Lagos State Government and the private firm. The factory is located in Badore area of Eti-Osa.  The ferries which aimed to provide effective transport mode options for movement within the metropolis will operate in  15 out of 20 local government areas via the waterways, presenting a reliable and enjoyable alternative to road travel. 

  The inauguration of the Omi-Bus carriers marked the completion of the first manufacturing phase in the partnership, with the new ferries immediately deployed for commercial operations  by Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, to provide effective mobility options for the residents.
Sanwo-Olu, accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State Executive Council, took inaugural ride on the boats, sailing from Badore to Ikoyi. The journey took an average of 27 minutes.

Aside enhancing rapid connectivity between communities in the state, Sanwo-Olu said the development would further catalyze economic prosperity by saving hours lost in traffic, while also optimizing public investment in water transportation.

The Governor said the inauguration of the locally fabricated ferries, designed to operate on the Cowry Card payment system, underscored his administration’s dedication to sustainable partnership that advance the development of intermodal transportation system in Lagos. 

Creating viable waterways transportation, Sanwo-Olu said, aligned with his administration’s strategic vision to engender pollution-free mobility that would improve life quality and productivity.

Lagos, he maintained, has always been a trailblazer in governance and standards setting, and LASWA has been aligned with this approach in setting the standards for inland waterways’ infrastructure and services across the nation. 

Through safety awareness strategies, LASWA, he added, has significantly increased ridership figures and reduced waterway accidents.  The state has also facilitated multi-modal transport connections and integration at several jetties by introducing the Cowry Cards payment solution, Last-Mile Transfer Buses, and Park-and-Ride facilities. 

  Beyond the ferries, the state has constructed 15 new jetties and terminals, established the groundbreaking Waterways Monitoring and Data Management Center, Lagos Waters Authority, LASWA Control Room, acquired two additional patrol boats.

 Safe transportation
  Speaking on the occasion, Sanwo-Olu said, “Today marks yet another significant milestone in our quest to revolutionize transportation in Lagos in line with our T.H.E.M.E.S Plus agenda. Acquisition and deployment of these ferries for commercial operations symbolize our commitment to transforming Lagos into a city that thrives on efficient, clean, safe and sustainable transportation.

“This initiative is a testament to our commitment to creating an integrated, multimodal transportation system that makes daily commutes smoother and more seamless. The launch of these ferries reaffirms our dedication to enhancing the quality of life for all Lagosians, while investing in infrastructure that promotes safety, reliability and convenience for the public.

“Lagos’ unique geography, with approximately 22 per cent of its landmass comprising waterways, offers us a tremendous opportunity. Our administration has made strategic investments to ensure that commuting on our inland waterways becomes a viable and preferred choice.

“These ferries which were built right here in Lagos by the indigenous company Carverton Marine, under the supervision of Bureau Veritas will not only harnesses local talent but also boosts our economy and ensures adherence to the highest safety and quality standards.

“These ferries symbolize better days ahead. As we launch them into our waterways, let us do so with collective pride and purpose. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

“By introducing these 15 new ferries, we are not only saving countless hours otherwise lost in traffic but also optimizing our public investment in water transportation.”4

Beyond the ferries, the state has constructed 15 new jetties and terminals, established the groundbreaking Waterways Monitoring and Data Management Center, and LASWA Control Room, acquired two additional patrol boats.

  More ferries
  Meanwhile, additional 25 high-capacity ferries were expected to be fabricated in the second phase of construction in the boat factory aim to further reduce the turnaround time in waterways transportation, while expanding ferry services to more routes.
The ferries which were equipped with revolutionary technology to ensure commuters’ safety, comfort, and convenience,    Sanwo-Olu stressed that the safety measures would be complemented by the modern technology installed in Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA Command and Control Centre. 
LASWA, the state’s waterways regulator, had recently acquired two additional patrol boats, and set up a Search and Rescue Unit, and a floating clinic for quick response to emergencies.
Lagos Ferry Services, LAGFERRY, and LASWA, offer an efficient and scenic mode of transportation, alleviating congestion on the roads while providing a dependable alternative for both residents and visitors. 
Since the inception of the administration, LAGFERRY it was gathered had successfully transported approximately 2 million passengers across Lagos Inland Waterways.
Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyemi, said the OmiBus ferry project was initiated to transform commuting in the metropolis, with a special focus on rapid transiting and convenience.
“These modern ferries, with their advanced amenities and safety features, will not only ensure comfortability of passengers in secure journeys, they will also herald a new era of convenience and efficiency in Lagos. Mr. Governor’s visionary leadership and tireless effort in prioritising the development of our inland waterways has been nothing short of inspiring. This has laid the foundation for a transportation system that will serve future generations,” Osiyemi said.
  LASWA General Manager, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, said the new vessels were designed with simple maintenance but high efficiency. He reiterated the agency’s commitment to ensure safer, faster and accident-free journey on the Lagos waterways.
Emmanuel said the local production of ferries would drive more local investments in waterways transportation, just as it would open more commercial routes and access to isolated communities. 
“Our goal is to provide a viable alternative mode of transportation, thereby contributing to the economic growth and ecological sustainability of Lagos State,” he stated.
Chairman, House of Assembly Committee on Transportation, Temitope Adewale, said the success of the partnership had further raised the confidence of the public in Sanwo-Olu, saying: “This is what Lagosians want. This will enhance intermodal transportation system that will give people the choice to use all means of mobility.”
Other highlights of the commissioning included the inspection of the manufacturing facility of the factory by the Governor.