Lagos State Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu has expressed his administration's commitment in providing absolute safety on the waterways by ensuring total complaince with safety protocols and regulations, increase capacity to daily transport more residents to reduce traffic congestion on the roads.
Sanwo-Olu, made the remark yesterday, while inaugurating seven high capacity boats and cowry cards at the Cowries Jetty of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, Boat Jetty in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The governor, who was represented by Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, urged the people to embrace water transportation 'as it remains the fastest, most reliable and safest means of transportation within the state.
He said: "The procurement of these high capacity boats is in fulfillment of our promise to double the number of boats in the LAGFERRY fleet within the shortest time, enhance the capacity of ferry services for efficient service delivery.
"We are also launching the Cowry Card for water transportation to create a seamless payment scheme for our Multimodal Transportation System
which is gradually taking shape as we have begun the integration of our rail lines, bus terminals and waterways.
"In the last one year, LAGFERRY has moved over 500,000 passengers across our 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.
"I also urge the organised private sector to invest in water transportation, as the economic potential is limitless. I assure you that we will continue to support private sector participation in water transportation by putting in place the most appropriate regulatory framework for high returns on investment.
"We are building and rehabilitating 15 jetties across the state, and dredging our waterways to open up more jetties.
Our people have nothing to fear when they board our ferries.
"Our administration will continue to prioritise absolute safety on
our waterways by ensuring total compliance with safety protocols and
regulations including regular use of life jackets by both operators and
passengers, conducting seaworthiness inspections bi-annually, and removing wrecks from navigable channels.
"We have concluded plans to boost our water transportation safety measures and protocols with the deployment and installation of technological devices for improved navigation, the development of nautical charts and the purchase of state-of-the-art patrol boats and safety equipment to upgrade LASWA's SAR unit."
Managing Director of LAGFERRY Abdoulbaq Ladi-Balogun noted that the seven new boats brings the total number of boats to 20 running concurrent commercial operations.
According to him, In history, "this is the first time we are going to have a total of 20 boats running concurrent commercial operations. The seating capacity of the 19 passengers boats currently stands at 710."
"Mr Governor's commitment and promise to continue to patronise local manufacturers of boats has ensured the construction of these seven new boats by local boat builders.
"The boats are 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."
He noted with the unwavering support of Mr Governor, his admnistration"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 residents.
"To date we have moved over 41,040 trucks from our terminal. Over 2308 cleared goods containers have been received from the port and well over 941 containers have been loaded back to the ports.
"We have also been able to create 284 employment directly and indirectly, and of course, paying taxes to the coffers of the state.
"LAGFERRY, as at yesterday, (Monday), after 317 days of operations, has ferried over 524,000 passenger with an increasing daily average passenger flow of over 1,500. "12 passengers boats have collectively ran 7,061 hours spanning 286,280 kilometers for 10,182 trips.
"We boast of an impressive safety record as we can proudly tell you that we have never recorded any accident since the agency started commercial operations on February 6, 2020. With the kind approval of Mr. Governor, all passengers on the boats of LAGFERRY can now enjoy insurance cover on all trips.
"As the government is currently building and renovating 15 new jetties across the coastal lines of the state to open up more routes, LAGFERRY will be deploying some of these new boats to the new routes of Epe, Badagry, Agbowa-Ikosi, Unilag Community and Agbara-Ijanikin," Ladi-Balogun said.
Some of the new routes recently approved by Governor, include: Badagry- Liverpool - CMS; Agbara-Ojo- Liverpool - CMS; Agbowa Ikosi - Ebute Ero - CMS; Ilaje Bariga - Ebute Ero - CMS - Falomo - Victoria Island; Epe - Victoria Island - Falomo; Bayeku - Oke Ira Nla - Badore; Badore - Falomo - CMS Marina; Ibeju Lekki - Falomo These are addition to existing routes of Ikorodu - Falomo, Ikorodu - Ebute Ero - CMS/Marina.