FG Plans Integrated Intermodal Transport System
The federal government has said that to maximise the nation’s waterways, it is considering integrated intermodal transport system, whereby there would be a mix of road, rail and water transport system.
To this end, the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) is developing the rivers, estuaries, creeks and others for safe and secure transport system and integrate it with rail and road so as to reduce the burden on the roads and also to provide alternative means of transport for the people who live in riverine areas.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, who said that the major challenge is to provide security at the waterways. He noted that NIWA has gone a long way in developing the waterways from the inland waters, connecting them to River Niger and River Benue down to the Delta and Lagos areas.
According to him, beyond dredging the River Niger and others, it is very important to secure the waterways so that people can move through the medium and business men and women could use the waterways as means of moving their goods without molestation.
Amaechi therefore challenged the private sector to take advantage of the huge and untapped potential in the maritime sector and invest in the industry.
The Minister made this known recently at the 2nd International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) 2017 held at the Orietal Hotel in Lagos.
Ameachi described the theme of the conference, ‘ Improving Navigability and Inland Port Development for Sustainable Investment on Nigerian Waterways’ as apt and very topical for the self sufficiency of NIWA, adding that deliberations on the topic at the conference would help to solve some of the challenges facing marine business.
He stated that the conference would provide opportunity for Public Private Partnership (PPP), adding the huge potential in the Nigerian Inland Waters had not been harnessed, calling on private investors to take advantage and invest in the business.
Amaechi pointed out that already the Senate had passed NIWA Amendment Bill that would provide a turning point for the administration of inland waterways in the country.
He also said that the bill when assented to, by the executive, would further help to shore up the revenue profile of the agency.
Also speaking at the forum, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Ogembe, said that the conference received the support of the National Assembly because of the commitment and seriousness of NIWA to be self-sustaining.
He added that efforts of the Red Chamber to support inland waterways transport system cannot be over emphasised, adding that NIWA is presently in good shape and called on investors to tap into the potential in the inland waterways and invest in them.