The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), said that it has commenced transporting containers from Apapa Port to Ebute Metta and Ijoko, an outskirts of Ogun State to ease gridlocks along Apapa axis of Lagos.
Mr Jerry Oche, the NRC Lagos District Manager, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday that the operations were initiated to ease congestion of articulated vehicles along Apapa Port.
Oche said the corporation has earmarked time table for the freight movement to either NRC Ebute Metta junction terminal or that of Ijoko at Ogun.
“We have concentrated on moving containers from Apapa to Ijoko to curb usual traffic along Apapa and its environs.
“We have time table and schedules for our two trips of 20 containers each per day.
“About 40 containers were been transported to Ebute Metta terminal on daily basis to keep off trailers, trucks and all articulated vehicles from the road,’’ Oche said.
According to him, apart from the ship, train mass transit has the capacity to transport freight from area to another without delay or damage.
He said that the corporation has discussed with three stakeholders dealing with freight at Apapa Port on the new services by the NRC.
Oche said that the freight shuttle services would eradicate lots of accidents and reduce heavy traffic caused by articulated vehicles as result of break down along the roads.
The district manager also said that the shuttle services would also go beyond Ijoko and be extended to Kajola and other terminus along Abeokuta axis.
Mr Niyi Alli, the NRC Director of Operation, also said that the rail service was ready and available for any organisation or an individual who want to transport their goods from the port to other parts of the country.
According to him, the only challenge facing the NRC presently is the limit capacity of the rolling stocks.
The director said that the railway needed more locomotives in order to meet up with the growing demands.
“If you look at where we were some years back and where we are now, you will see that our market share has grown substantively by over 100 per cent.
“We started running four trains a day in Lagos but now we are running 18 trips a day, that is the example of growth we are talking of,’’ he said.
He urged the government to invest more on rail infrastructure to generate more funds to gear up the services.
NAN reports that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on July 19 said that the gridlocks created by trucks and articulated vehicles on bridges cross Lagos were dangerous and had damaging effects.
Mr Hyginus Omeje, the Lagos State Sector Commander of the FRSC, had spoken against the backdrop of the recurring gridlock on the Apapa Road Bridge taking traffic to the tank farms in the area.
“We are sitting on a keg of gun powder because the bridges are weakening on a daily basis as tankers, trucks and articulated vehicles are parked on top of them, due to traffic congestion.
“When these vehicles are stationary on the bridges for a long time, they have a negative impact, including deterioration, bridge-fatigue, damage or even collapse; moreover, there is no money anywhere now to build these kind of solid bridges again.
“The Ijora, Eko, Carter and Third Mainland Bridges are expensive projects that require huge capital to execute.
`So, it is urgent that we do whatever we need to do, to preserve these bridges, so as to make them last longer,’’ he said.