Ingo Herbert, the German consul-general, has told the Lagos State government that Germany was ready to assist it to develop a virile water transportation system.
On a working visit to Ladi Lawanson, state commissioner for transportation, Herbert said Germany operates a robust transport system that subsidises transport fare for people in order to enlist their continued suport for public sector transport system.
The consular office is also offering to assist in ensuring appropriate dissemination of the opportunities in the transportation sector in Lagos State and sensitise German investors to begin to look in the direction of the state, told the commissoner.
Accompanied on the visit by deputy consul-general, Alexandra Herr and other council officials, Herbert said his country is excited at the opportunities that Lagos is presenting by looking towards its direction for developing a very viable water transportation system.
As a major player in the transportation system, he said Germany has helped several countries of the world, both within and outside the European Union (EU), to build, operate and activate their transportation systems.
Lagos has vast water bodies, which makes it a mine that could be exploited for massive transportation opportunities that would take pressure away from the roads and encourage more people to patronize water transportation, he said.
“Germany have a tremendous amount of competence in the transportation system, especially in water transportation which the state government intends to incorporate in its intermodal system that is just evolving and we would be willing to share these competence with the state government,” Herbert said.
Germany would be ready to build, develop and transfer technical competence and help train officials to manage the water transportation system, he offered.
Lawanson said the government is willing to collaborate with the German government to help develop a robust water transportation system, adding that this would complement its giant strides on the other modes of transportation especially road, where it is experiencing landmark transformation. He said water transportation would be a major complement to transportation mix and help achieve the vision of the Akinwunmi Ambode led government to make more people patronize public transportation.
He said Lagos being the most strategic economy in Africa, is looking towards Germany which is a leading economy in the EU to benchmark its strides and investments in the transportation sector, adding that with Germany’s competence, would rub on positively on the state’s water transportation system.
Lawanson while presenting an information slide on the state’s mission, objectives and vision for the sub-sector to the visitors, said the state government would be looking forward to Germany coming up with long term low interest lending to develop the sector, among others.
He added that the government has identified four major and economic water routes which it is currently dredging to flag-off its water reform masterplan. These routes according to him are the Ijora, Ikeja, Oke-Afa and Tolu, Ajegunle, all within West and Central Lagos, in order to promote a new culture of water transportation in the state.
“We would specifically be interested in tapping into your competence in this sector, exploit affording funding and provision of passenger friendly vessels as well as the construction of world class jetties around all border points in the state.”
Part of the plan to further decongest the roads within the state, according to him, is to explore the opportunities presented by the water bodies by ensuring that importers can pick up their containers at any of the state’s jetties that would dot the border posts thereby reducing the inflow of traffic into Apapa Ports for such transactions.