Solutions To Truck Diversion In Nigeria


Solutions To Truck Diversion In Nigeria

Everyday huge volumes of food items, industrial raw materials, refined petroleum products, heavy and light equipment, vehicles and consumer goods (electronics, clothes, home décor etc) valued at billions of dollars arrive at African sea and air ports from the USA, Europe, South America and Asia (especially China).

These large chunks of imported goods need to be transported to several towns and cities until they reach the small retailers and final consumers. As a result, trucking has become a lucrative business and more smart entrepreneurs are getting in.

In spite of the recent global recession, African economies have shown sustainable growth (5 percent average) over the past decade. The forecasts remain very positive and trade between the continent and the rest of the world has doubled since 1999.

As Africa’s economy and population continue to explode and the size of the middle class increases, every other continent wants to sell goods to Africa. In addition to imported goods at the ports, factories need to get their bulk products from the warehouses to wholesalers in distant cities and rural areas.

Nigeria is a ready market and the toast of the producers of multiple products and services, therefore the importance of trucking to the nation’s economy is sacrosanct. Given the nation’s poor, and undeveloped, rail and inland waterway transport networks, almost all heavy goods are transported internally by road!

Although the challenges associated with trucking in Nigeria are surplus, the attitude, welfare and bad connivance of truck drivers to divert cargoes has become one of the major problems in the business.

As a result of these challenges, the newly formed corporate truck association, ‘Corporate Fleet Truck Owners Association’ has taken a cue from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) truck standardization scheme and innovations to propagate solutions to the menace of truck drivers.

Speaking during the launch of the new association, the former General Manager, Western Ports of NPA, Chief Michael K. Ajayi stressed that the recklessness of drivers was a bigger challenge to trucking business than the poor state of the roads.

He lamented that these truck drivers bask in the euphoria that they could always jump into another trucking company after they have damaged the current one they operate.

He suggested that truck owners should embrace the potentials in the speed limiter introduced by the FRSC which also has tracking features to trace the whereabouts of missing trucks and personalized phone call mechanisms to relate directly with the truck drivers.

Chief Ajayi who commended the association as the first group to understand the truck sanitization exercise he introduced for Western Ports as General Manager last year, urged truck owners to enhance their recruitment exercises for drivers and train them properly on safety standards, use of speed limiters and other gadgets.

Chief Ajayi equally encouraged the new group (CFTOA) to channel its intellectual capacity towards transforming truck business in the nation from the dominance of touts into a venture for refined professionals.

However, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Trucks Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi argued that the unpalatable conditions in which the drivers have to work has led them to develop uncharacteristic behaviours.

Chief Remi argued that the bad state of the roads, especially port access roads and the incessant gridlocks have forced truck drivers to sleep in their vehicles in order to complete a journey that should only take few hours.

While he welcomed the association as the corporate voice of truck owners, he also admonished the body to serve as an efficient pressure group for truck owners in the country.

Chief Remi also urged the new body to partner with other trucking associations in order to ensure a more efficient trucking industry.

Meanwhile the President of the new association, Mrs. Folake Soji-George emphasized that CFTOA had begun steps to acquire speed limiters and other innovative mechanisms to enable truck owners better monitor their investments.

In her opinion, she said that the challenges of diversion of trucks would not be witnessed by members of the association as they have made robust plans to utilize an effective recruitment process that would include an expansive background checks for their drivers.

She also revealed that members of the association have agreed not to recruit any driver who was sacked as a result of indiscipline in any of the trucking companies. She maintained that this policy would instill a new sense of discipline and responsibility among truck drivers.

Speaking on behalf of freight forwarders, a participant at the launch who pleaded anonymity, blamed the Nigerian Police Force for not doing enough ensure that the culprits of truck diversion are adequately prosecuted.

He stressed that the remuneration of these truck drivers should also be enhanced while sensitization programmes and workshops should also be organized for them to enable them perform optimally.

With the rising production from our factories and farms, over a billion tons of goods are transported across the nation annually. Trucking and haulage are the vital links that connect imported, manufactured, and cultivated goods to final consumers like us. Without these heavy-duty trucks and tankers, commerce may be totally impossible in Nigeria.

Despite the development of railways and inland water transport, the market opportunities for the trucking and haulage business is increasing; even as forecasts reveal that as a direct consequence of increased economic and commercial activities the demand for trucking and haulage will double across Nigeria and Africa within the next 10 years.

In Nigeria and South Africa alone, more than 10,000 businesses are registered as truckers and haulage service providers.

Check Also

Dr Ajani: Reanimating Old ‘Super- Permanent Secretary’ Spirit In Civil Service

By Kingsley ‘Anaroke Before the Nigeria civil war erupted in 1966, there was a group …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× Get News Alert