Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday unveiled seven additional new boats built by local boat builders to enhance the capacity of the Lagos Ferry Services for efficient service delivery.
The governor also launched Cowry cards for water transportation in Lagos.
Commissioning the boats at the LASWA Boat Jetty, Five Cowries Terminal in Ikoyi, Lagos, Sanwo-Olu said the procurement of the new high capacity boats was in fulfillment of his promise to double the number of boats in the fleet of Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) within the shortest time and increase its capacity to daily transport more Lagosians to reduce traffic congestion on our roads.
“We are also launching the Cowry Card for water transportation to create a seamless payment scheme for our Multimodal Transportation System, which I am happy to note, is gradually taking shape as we have commenced the integration of our rail lines, bus terminals and waterways,” Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Hamzat said.
The governor said the state was already witnessing positive outcomes from his administration’s investment in the safety and viability of waterways as a safe alternative to road transportation.
He disclosed that in the last one year, LAGFERRY has moved over 500,000 passengers across the waterways, including the Super Eagles who were successfully ferried to and from Benin Republic for their AFCON qualifying match.
“In addition to commuting people, it is heartwarming to know that LAGFERRY promotes tourism and commerce by providing logistics solutions to business owners who move their trucks and cargoes through the waterways within Apapa and through regular charter services.
“The impressive performance of LAGFERRY in the last one year is an indication of the growing confidence of our people in water transportation. It also justifies our decision to procure additional boats to enhance LAGFERRY’s operations and capacity to meet the transportation demands of its teeming passengers,” he said.
The governor assured that his government would continue to support private sector participation in water transportation by putting in place the most appropriate regulatory framework for high returns on investment, disclosing that some of the steps taking in this regard included the ongoing construction and rehabilitation of 15 jetties across the State as well as the dredging of our waterways to open up more jetties.
Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Ladi Balogun said the governor’s commitment and promise to continue to patronise local manufacturers of boats had ensured the construction of the seven new boats by local boat builders of messrs Sierra Craft Limited, V-craft limited and Niger Benue Transport Company (NBTC), who has indicated a strong interest to establish their boat factory in Epe, Lagos.
He said the boats were built to International Standard and equipped with modern gadgets like wifi, GPS, Echo Sounder, VHF Radio, USB Charging ports, 13amp sockets, TV and Radio, Toolbox, First Aid Box, Fire Extinguishers.
“With the unwavering support of Mr Governor, his administration’s commitment to create an instant alternative to road transport and 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, LAGFERRY was able to record many unprecedented huge milestones and edged itself in the consciousness of Lagosians,” he said.
Balogun added that despite the disruptions last year to daily commuting caused by COVID-19 pandemic which necessitated some months of lockdown and the EndSARS protest, the agency had, after 317 days of operations ferried over 524, 000 passengers through the waterways with an increasing daily average passenger flow of over 1,500.
“A total of our 12 passengers boats have collectively ran 7061 hours spanning 286,280 kilometers for 10,182 trips. While MV Adimu Orisa aside moving cargoes and vehicles, has successfully hosted Greater Lagos Valentine Extra, 60th Independence Cruise and many social events and movie production,” he said.
He added that the agency had to date successfully moved over 41,040 trucks from its terminal, while over 2,308 cleared goods containers have been received from the port and well over 941 containers loaded back to the port.