Work Commences at Cross River’s Ultramodern Haulage City
In its resolve to decongest Calabar metropolis while ensuring that the roads remain safe for users, the Cross River Government has commenced the building of a haulage city. Designed to accommodate 8,000 trucks daily, the city will also have a police station, a bank, hotel, restaurant as well as a sophisticated tracking and marking system with cortex-like plastic linings. The state governor, Prof Ben Ayade while inspecting ongoing works at the site said the idea of building the haulage city became imperative as “Calabar plays host to 19 active tank farms creating an aggregate of 7,000 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 8,000 trucks a day.”
Ayade remarked that the scenario was creating a very huge 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 haulagecity.” The governor argued that most accidents involving trucks have to do with lack of proper sleep by truck drivers, a challenge that 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 stated. He also disclosed that the haulage city which has a unique design will be fully digitalised with ICT-based communication and more importantly providing service maintenance, lubrication as well as other support services.
On whether the project is public private partnership, Ayade said: “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 ensuring that the traffic congestion on the Calabar road is well managed.” Continuing, the governor explained that the company will ensure safety and safe trafficking, run the project profitably, declare profit and give a percentage to government, adding that, “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, Managing Director of Third Atlantic, the company handling the project, Kelvin Orogun, disclosed that the design will fit into the state vision of having a very modern city, pointing out that the facility will be 21st century-compliant and the park equipped with toilet facilities as well as everything expected of a modern park.
Orogun said the project is being 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.”