(From Aisha Cole, NAN)
The Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) said that the service moved 41,040 trucks through barges in Apapa ports between January and December 2020 to decongest gridlock in Lagos.
Mr Abdoulbaq Balogun, LAGFERRY Managing Director, made the disclosure during a two-day Strategic Management Workshop for management of Lagos Ferry Services with the Theme, “Resilience for Sustainable Economy”, in Lagos on Saturday.
According to him, “Between January and December 2020, we have successfully moved 41,040 trucks from our terminal.
“LAGFERRY have also cleared 2,308 goods containers from Apapa and Tincan ports while 941 empty containers have been loaded back to the ports.
“We have also been able to create 284 employment directly and indirectly through our operations.
“The mandate given to us by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is to move 30% of Lagosians by the waterways in order to decongest the roads.
“We equally understand the enormous responsibility and challenges before us for the new year. This is exactly the reason for organising this workshop.”
He commended the efforts of Gov. Sanwo-Olu for his commitment to water transportation by procuring seven additional boats, thereby increasing the fleet to 20 to drive Sanwo-Olu’s vision for a greater Lagos.
Balogun urged staff to make the workshop very interactive in order to contribute to the subject matter and tap from the experience of the facilitators so as to make the whole essence of the workshop achievable.
He said that LAGFERRY commenced operations in February 2020 by deploying 12 boats on its six major routes.
“We were averaging daily commuting between 800 to 900 passengers and in June 2020, we had ferried about 60, 000 passengers and by September we celebrated our 100,000 passengers, with the support of Captain Murtala Balogun.
“Also in 2020, one of our boats, MV Ayangburen, christened the sea warrior of water transport accomplished a feat of completing 22 trips in 7 hours and six minutes.
”Also in 2020, A total number of 2,857 persons have been commuted on our chattered services to different parts of the state for pleasure, recreation and business.
“Today, I can proudly tell you that we had commuted over 200, 000 passengers within 150 days of operation in 2020,” Balogun said.
He said that LAGFERRY had been assisting in ensuring ease of doing business in Lagos by providing innovative logistics solution for cargoes of corporate bodies through the waterways.
Balogun however, urged staff to ensure observations of COVID-19 safety protocols while onboard, adding that the world is experiencing the second wave of the pandemic which is deadlier and more dangerous than the first experience.
In his keynote address, the Chief Resilience Officer, Lagos State Resilience Office (LASRO), Mr Gbolahan Oki, urged LAGFERRY to be more proactive in 2021 towards meeting government desire for continued investment in water transportation as a major means of transportation.
“Training and retraining of your operators is very crucial to achieving optimal performance. You must train your operators to be civil in all their operations.
“LAGFERRY management must always remember that public infrastructure is built with taxpayers’ money; as a result, your personnel must maintain a very cordial relationship with the public; such that they will have confidence in your operations and by extension, continue to support government programmes and policies in the state.
“You must work towards increasing your daily ridership to maximize profits. Though, I am aware you have succeeded in ferrying about 800 to 1000 passengers in your daily operations.
”The service must always remember that the mandate of the state government for your agency is to transport at least 30 per cent of the population by water,” Oki said.
In his goodwill message, the Managing Director, PMC Consultants, Mr Semiu Okanlawan, commended the Lagos State Government in sustaining enabling environment for business to thrive by establishing the barge system in transporting containers through waters.