By Ranmilowo Ojalumo
The 2018 edition of Haulage & Logistics Magazine Annual Conference & Exhibition (HAULMACE 2018) took place in Lagos recently with many stakeholders in cargo transportation in attendance and the event as a matter of fact is a memorable one.
Although the 2018 edition of the annual conference may have come and gone since 3rd October, 2018, the sound of the drum the event beat, which is SAFETY, is still very loud and will continue to be.
An incisive paper on the theme of the event -“Safety of life and Property: imperative for cargo transportation on Nigerian roads”, was delivered by the keynote speaker, Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi. The event revealed many factors in the cargo transportation on Nigerian roads that are endangering the life and property of Nigerians.
With so many revelations, stakeholders unanimously agreed that safety is a serious issue in the industry that needed to be taken serious by everyone that is directly or indirectly involved in cargo transportation on Nigerian roads.
Aside from the Corps Marshal who takes a holistic look at safety situation on the roads, the two other presentations from ABC Transport PLC, one of the foremost transport companies in Nigeria and Total Nigeria PLC, a leading oil marketing company in the country also made the event a worthwhile.
The ABC Transport presentation was delivered by the company’s DGM, Traffic And Safety, Verere Tesman Regha (FRSC RTD) titled “achieving a culture of safety in cargo operations on Nigerian roads: the ABC Transport experience”. The presentation focuses on the effort the company has put in place to achieve a culture of safety over the years.
Total Nigeria PLC presentation on the other hand, titled “Sustaining Culture of Safety in wet cargo Transportation on Nigerian Road: The Total Nigeria experience.”, was delivered by Engineer Ajibola Alaga. The presentation focuses on the best practices That Total has adopted over the years through which it has sustained a culture of safety.
The presentations, together with the all the discussions at the event draw home the fact that stakeholders in cargo transport must always talk and think of safety all the time. The discussions and presentations at the event also revealed that it is possible to achieve and sustain a culture of safety in cargo transportation on Nigerian roads.
Deducting from the keynote address by the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr. Oyeyemi, the driver is the first factor in the cargo transportation on Nigerian roads that must imbibe the culture of safety.
According to the FRSC boss, available statistics on road crashes has shown that about 85% of the articulated vehicles mishaps on Nigerian roads are human triggered. For instance, the Corps marshal said it was discovered during the last Sallah patrols that 30 per cent of articulated vehicle drivers do not see at night, hence, the motor boys take over the truck and drive at night. Boboye also added that driver’s training/retraining and best practice is grossly in deficit.
Aside the driver, Boboye said the truck owners have big role to play just as the trailer/ tanker construction companies have vital role to play. The Corps Marshal disclosed that FRSC has observed apathy on the side of stakeholders relating to upholding the resolutions and good practice and its attempt to discharge its own duties often met brick walls, adding that some stakeholders assault personnel on duty, Mob attacks on Commands and vandalism, Ensuring non-conducive environment for proper duty discharge, where required.
In view of this, Boboye maintained that unless there is proper control by truck owners and drivers, there will always be problem irrespective of the effort of the government.
On the way forward, Oyeyemi said apart from the construction method and material specifications, vehicle inspection must be improved, adding that ageing trucks must be address through Fleet Renewal facility.
He said “there is need to engage the services of properly trained truck drivers from reputable specialist driving schools and ensure that their knowledge is constantly updated through re-training. Standards should be fully enforced before loading, during loading, on transit and off-loading of cargoes. Fleet Operators should ensure the mandatory Use of Inflammable signs and retro-reflective tapes on all trucks to enhance visibility. All trucks with flammable contents must comply with the Agreement for Dangerous Roads (ADR) standards and fix necessary signs on trucks for recognition.
“There must a mandatory Use of the specified standard fire extinguishers (2 Nos. of 9Kg ABC fire extinguisher). Truck owner should consider investing in On-Board Cameras and satellite tracking to monitor the behavior of drivers. All forms of attack on law enforcement personnel should cease. Obedience to road traffic regulations is important; including traffic signs, markings and law enforcement officers must be encouraged.
Speaking further, Oyeyemi said “stakeholders in the haulage industry should know that Road Safety is a collective responsibility more so as they are critical participants who have tremendous investment in the road transport sector. You must continue to ensure compliance to safety standards and play your part in securing the safety of lives and property on Nigeria’s roads. FRSC remains committed to ensuring a safe motoring environment for the seamless movement of lives and cargo in the country.
On his part, the Managing Director, AOP Logistics, Mrs. Titilayo Rotimi who was one of the panellists at the event urge heavy duty vehicle owners to place more emphasis on their drivers. She said “We must place more emphasis on our drivers and train them on safety procedure because they are the one that use the truck all the time”.
Similarly, the managing director, GPC Energy and Logistics, Chief Elvins Okonji charge organisational leaders in the haulage industry to take safety serious, so as to avoid loss of huge investment put into their business.
Okonji lamented that investors in the haulage industry lost billion of naira every year owing to crashes aided by bad road and lack of necessary sign on the road. He therefore urge the government to as a matter of urgency put the necessary signs on the road and as well fixed the dilapidated roads in the country.
Making a remark at the event, the Managing Director of A & A. Global Leasing Services, Mrs. Oluwaseye Yomi-Soleye, urge the government at all levels to rehabilitate roads in the country, saying the effect of the bad roads cause elongated trips and cause untold hardships.