Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday noted that Nigerian roads keep collapsing because they are not designed to carry the overbearing vehicular weight they are carrying.
Amaechi who made the observation at the Port Harcourt Area office of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) where he commissioned five of 20 newly acquired craft of NIWA, said water transportation is the most viable option to save the nation’s roads from frequent collapse from the pressures of bulk load.
Represented on the occasion by NIWA Managing Director, George Moghalu, the minister stated, “Water transportation is the way to go. Our roads are not designed to carry the weight they are carrying and that is why they keep collapsing.
“If, for example, we have five million trailers going between Lagos and South East, that translates to going and coming of ten million trailers. Our roads are not designed for such pressures. All over the world, bulk cargo is usually moved by water so why would ours be any different?
“We are laying emphasis on Private Public Partnership, talking with some organization interested in doing Transport Ferry. We are talking and hey are going to do that. We all believe inland waterway transport is the way to go. We are investing in the renovation of some old ferry and others are already in the water”
He said inland Waterways is verifiably the safest and cheapest mode of transportation, noting that NIWA’s acquisition and Utilization of the various vessels being commissioned would provide the enabling environment for investors to come in.
The five vessels commissioned for the Port Area of NIWA include a Tug Boat, House Boat, Water Ambulance and two Patrol Boats.
NIWA boss, Moghalu said the industry regulator has, “Licensed about twelve companies for the transportation of cargo from Lagos and Onne Ports to hinterlands and vice versa. This is aimed at making goods and services available to the masses at a cheaper cost”
He further said the authority is currently providing river training, removing wrecks and derelicts and has established eight search and rescue centres across the nation to help achieve a hitch operations.