The Managing Director, Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY), Hon. Abdoulbaq Ladi Balogun, has described the massive investment made in water transportation by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration as unprecedented, noting that the government has in the last three years procured a record number fifteen state-of-the-art boats to boost water transportation in the state.
Balogun made this known during a media parley with newsmen in his office at Mile 2 Terminal, Amuwo-Odofin.
“This administration has shown greater dedication and genuine commitment to ensuring viable alternatives to road transportation and decongest traffic through unprecedented massive investment in procurement of boats, construction and rehabilitation of terminals/jetties to open up new areas to water transportation, dredging of the waterways, removal of wreckages along the coastline and investment in security and safety equipments through the construction of Real-Time Control and Command Centres to safeguard the waterways and ensure quick emergency response.
Balogun informed that in the last 3 years of the administration, the agency has been able to record unprecedented milestones having in its fleet a record number of twenty boats, ferried over 800,000 passengers, daily operations in over 14 routes cut across all divisions within the state, created direct and indirect employment of over 250 Lagosians, ensured all passengers are covered by insurance on all trips, enabling commerce with our innovative logistics cargo barge services for conglomerates like Dangote Industries, Crown Flour Mills, HoneyWell Flour Mills, BUA Group etc, promoting tourism through regular charter services to beaches and tourism destinations in the state and partnering with tourism companies and entertainment managers to organise periodic events such as the St. Valentine boat cruise, International Women’s Day event, Nigeria Independence Cruise amongst several other events on the waterways by making use of their 180 tonnage barge which can seat over 200 guests and can be used to host weddings, birthday parties, basketball games and all kinds of events, shows and musical concerts while cruising on the waters and enjoying the ambiance of the Lagos coastline.
“There is the Park and Ride option available at our terminals, which enables commuters to leave their cars at the available ample car park spaces and go on the boat to their various destinations. The terminal engages in other commercial activities for commuters leisure and conveniences such as ATM Services, Restaurants etc.
The Managing Director boasted that LAGFERRY in a short period of operation has become the go-to-model and alpha solution provider in the business of water transportation and has become a standard for other boat operators to emulate by providing world class water transportation services that offers safe, fast and reliable mode with improved technologies and excellent customer experience.
Balogun, while taking the media crew round the Mile 2 Terminal, the E-Fleet Surveillance Control Room where all the boats are monitored in real-time to ensure passenger safety and guard against theft and the barge operation area. He further explained that Mile 2 is one of the areas within the metropolis where the rail, buses and water transport systems interconnects to achieve the Multi-Modal transport system as enshrined in the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of the administration where Traffic Management and Transportation is the first pillar.
“From Mile 2 and CMS Marina terminals, you can connect the rail, get on a BRT bus or go by boat to any destination you so desire. You can achieve this three modes of transportation by making use of the widely acceptable COWRY CARD payment system”.
While assuring commuters that government will continually procure more boats to meet increasing demands and ensure regular maintenance of existing ones to guarantee commuter safety, Balogun appealed to Lagosians to embrace the waterways and called for more private investment as he stated that there is a need to ensure Lagos benefits from the Blue Ocean Economy with a global asset base of over $24 trillion, generating at least $2.5 trillion each year from the combination of fishing and aquaculture, shipping, tourism, and other activities.
The managing Director stated that travelling by water is the safest, fastest, convenient and most comfortable mode of transportation explaining that his agency has since it was launched for commercial operation has never recorded any major mishap because of its strict adherence and adoption of a safety culture which was evidence during the covid-19 pandemic.
“The Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration will continue to seek ways to create alternative to road transportation and put adequate measures and legislations in place to guarantee safety of passengers on the waterways through effective collaborative efforts between federal and state regulatory agencies like NIWA, NIMASA, Marine Police, Nigerian Navy, LASWA, Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development and LAMATA”
“This admnistration’s commitment to the Multi-Modal transport system is unwavering as it constantly deploy technology, increase investment and create conducive atmosphere for private partnership participation to achieve good and effective transport system desirable of a smart city like Lagos state”.