By G9ija

Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) has moved to boost water transportation in the state with the training of its staff for efficient service delivery.

The two-day performance/capacity building training for management staff was meant to reposition them in the New Year for better performance.

LAGFERRY Managing Director, Abdoulbaq Ladi Balogun, charged the officers to double their efforts so as to make water transportation more attractive and a considered alternative.

He stated that the Workshop with the theme, “Resilient Sailing for Sustainable Economy” was aimed at reviewing the success made by the agency in 2020 with a view to strategically prepare them for the challenges ahead in the New Year, towards building a resilience sailing economy necessary for greater economic prosperity for the State.

Balogun, said on-going transport sector reforms embarked upon by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration were fast yielding positive results, disclosing that the agency was able to commute 200, 000 passengers in the first 150 days of the present administration, while expressing optimism that the vision for building a Smart city state with an inter-modal transportation system would be realized in record time.

“It is gratifying to note that the deliberate commitment of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration to engender inter-modal transportation system is beginning to take shape as there is noticeable increasing demands for water transportation by commuting public. LAGFERRY recorded unprecedented milestones last year in our commercial operations despite the disruption caused by the EndSARS protest and the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

The LAGFERRY boss disclosed that the state government, in its determined efforts to make water transportation a widely accepted alternative mode of transportation in the State, has approved procurement of additional seven brand new commercial passenger Ferry boats for LAGFERRY to enhance its operational capacity in furtherance of the inter-modal transport policy of the state government.

While commending the state government for approving the workshop, the LAGFERRY MD noted that the 2–day Strategic Management Workshop would help his Management staff to appraise their performances over the years and come up with a new strategic approach that could increase their productivity and efficiency in water transportation sub sector of the economy.

“With the approval of additional 7 passenger Ferry boats by the state government, our agency would have a total of 20 boats in its fleet, I promise that our men would double their efforts to ensure that the mandate given to us by the state government to commute 30% of the residents through water transportation will be met in record time,” Balogun pledged.

He explained that the agency had also been able to assist in saving jobs that would have been lost due to the state of the Apapa road through its barge operation by moving trucks and cargoes on the waterways.

“Between January and December 2020, we have successfully moved 41,040 trucks from our terminal. 2,308 cleared goods containers have been received from the port. 941 containers have been loaded back to the port. We have also been able to create 284 employment directly and indirectly,” he said.

In his keynote address, the Chief Resilient Officer, Lagos State Resilience Office, Gbolahan Oki said training and re-training of personnel was crucial to achieving greater productivity and competency necessary for socio- economic growth and infrastructure development.

Oki charged the personnel to consider the workshop as an opportunity to review their performances over the years, analyze their challenges while they contribute meaningfully to experts’ discussions on how to take the water transportation system of the State to a greater level.

He advised LAGFERRY to put in place appropriate resilient strategies that would allow it grow in the face of any challenges including; efficient risk management system, effective business continuity plans, change management, effective communication system, compliance with all safety protocols, among others.

Former Press Secretary to the Osun State Government, Semiu Okanlawon, commended Lagos State Government for its various reforms in the transport sector, adding that an efficient integrated transport system is genuinely required in an emerging Smart City with an estimated population of over 26 million people.

He commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for working hard to find lasting solutions to the lingering Apapa/Oshodi traffic bottlenecks, noting that the road is too important to the economic growth of the country to be neglected.