The Cross River State government has commenced the building of an ultra-modern haulage city designed to accommodate 8000 trucks.
Speaking in Calabar during inspection of ongoing work at the site of the project, the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade said government had resolved to decongest Calabar metropolis while ensuring that the roads remain safe for users.
He also said the idea of building the haulage city became imperative as “Calabar plays host to 19 active tank farms creating an aggregate of 7000 trucks a day. And when you look at that in synergism with what we experience with the quarries, the flour mill, ports and the cement factory, then we have up to 8000 trucks a day.”
The governor further said the scenario had created embarrassment to the state and indeed Calabar, adding that, “to be able to contend with the social miasma that is associated with the trucks, it became evident that we needed to create a haulage city.”
Ayade also said most accidents involving trucks have to do with lack of proper sleep by truck drivers, a challenge he said the haulage city is meant to address.
“In the haulage city, there will be a proper bed, air conditioned rooms at a considerate price so you can sleep properly and wake like a human being in the morning while avoiding mobile accidents that would have occurred,” he said.
Besides, he said the haulage city which has a unique design will be fully digitalised with ICT-based communication and more importantly provide service maintenance, lubrication as well as other support services.
He added that the haulage city will have a police station, a bank, hotel, restaurant as well as a sophisticated tracking and marking system with cortex-like plastic linings.
On whether the project private sector driven, Ayade declared: “Cross River state government is not putting in a dime. Third Atlantic which is the concessionaire is to build, operate and transfer. Their responsibilities, apart from the paving, are to build the utilities and other amenities as well as ensure that the traffic congestion on the Calabar road is well managed.”
“The company will ensure safety and safe trafficking, run the project profitably, declare profit and give a percentage to government. We are at the luxury of the financial experience, wealth and exposure they are coming with from out of United Kingdom, a Nigerian company with an office out of UK, bringing in those technical partners and having most of their expatriates assisting in the design to ensure that we don’t have drainage and flooding problems.”
Earlier, the managing director of Third Atlantic, Mr. Kelvin Orogun, disclosed that the design will fit into the state’s vision of having a very modern city, pointing out that the facility will be 21st century compliant with toilet facilities as well as everything expected of a modern park.
Orogun said the project would be done in phases adding that, “in the first phase we are using about 100 out of the 250 hectares we have here and this will probably take thousands of trucks in a place that will be well managed and controlled with adequate security.”