Fashola seeks rail as alternative to road in cargo transportation

By Joshua Olalekan, Lagos
Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has called
for the movement of cargo across the country by rail in order to save
the nation’s roads.
Fielding questions from newsmen after the inspection of a bridge
project in Apapa on Monday, Fashola who expressed dismay at the rate
roads and bridges are collapsing as a result of stress of cargoes on
them by the tankers and trailers, warned that unless the trend is
reversed, the transportation business would be adversely affected.
He said there was need for stakeholders including government and all
those in the transportation business to agree on reverting to the rail
transportation as means of moving heavy cargo in order to save the
roads.
Recalling that he had in the past suggested to the drivers of
articulated vehicles to begin to think of alternative means, Fashola
pointed out that if this was not done in time the roads may collapse
and so would their business.
On the way forward, he said, “So in the same way they import trailers
to move their cargo, they can begin to make arrangements to import
wagons. We must all agree that this is the way to go. I am convinced
that this is the way to go for the future”, adding that Nigerians have
even designed tankers beyond the capacity found in any other parts of
the world. “We must all agree because this is not sustainable.”
Fashola suggested the present administration was now moving cattle by
rail from the North to Lagos and that, according to him, is how it
should go to save the roads.
On the rehabilitation project, the Minister, who described it as an
emergency intervention, added, “This is why Ijora-Apapa Bridge failed
because it was just over burdened with cargo for a very long time and
after sometime it could not hold it anymore”.
Fashola said in pursuing the rail project, there is a lot of
inter-ministerial collaboration between his Ministry and that of
Transportation adding that the Minister of Transportation, Hon.
Chibuike Amaechi, would be in a better position to explain the
progress being made in the sector.

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