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With 21.8m passengers, Lagos woos investors on waterways

The Lagos State government is currently wooing key investors into the vast untapped opportunities in the state water transportation sector. The move is aimed at…

The Lagos State government is currently wooing key investors into the vast untapped opportunities in the state water transportation sector.

The move is aimed at addressing the transportation and traffic challenges of a complex mega city like Lagos.

It is not a hidden fact that Lagosians spend an average of four hours commuting a distance of about 80 km by road, while the same distance can be covered in less than 40 minutes by ferry.

This, according to analysts, represents a significant loss of over three and half hours sweating it out in traffic. In fact, Lagos which is referred to as the economic nerve centre of the nation has a huge untapped potential in the water transport sector.

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The high population coupled with the mass movement of people to the city of Lagos results in traffic congestion and wasted work time for the city’s over 20 million residents.

To address this problem, the state government has decided to partner Caverton Marine boatyard for the construction and servicing of passenger boats for the state inland waterway authority (LASWA).

General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, during a boat ride from Falomo, in Ikoyi to Badore in Ajah, along with the management team of Caverton Marine boatyard, revealed that no fewer than 21.887, 738 persons travelled via the waterways in Lagos State last year recording a 55.2 per cent increase over the 2021 figure of 14,105,816.

Those on the tour included Chief Executive Officer, Caverton Offshore Support Group, Mr Olabode Makanjuola, Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, Mr Seun Osiyemi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Lagos State, Mr Olawale Musa, General Manager of LASWA, Factory Manager, Caverton Marine Boats Plc, Mohammed lbrahim, Corporate  Strategy and  Planning, Caverton Marine Boats Plc, Architect Kunmi Agbaje, among others.

The LASWA GM said the number of passengers using boat shuttles in the state is expected to rise above 55.2 per cent by the end of 2024.

The GM said the current figure showed that there has been a steady rise in the number of people that commute around the city via the waterways in the last ten years.

Giving a breakdown of the ridership figure from 2013 to 2023, he said there has been a steady increase of commuters using the waters to travel as a total of 9,978,546 was recorded in 2013 as against 21,887,738 in 2023. 

A further breakdown also showed that in 2014, a total of 10,345,281 persons used the waterways, and for 2015, a total of 11, 067,756 persons used the service while 2016 recorded a ridership of 11,851,837. In 2017, the number of persons that travelled by the waters increased to 13,787,624. And in 2018, the system recorded its only decline in usage as only 11,984,930 were recorded but it resurged in 2019 with an increase to 14,131,786, before recording a minor decline to 14, 105,816 in 2020 under COVID.

Also speaking during the boat cruise, Chief Executive Officer, Caverton Offshore Support Group, Mr Olabode Makanjuola, explained that Caverton ventured into shipping in 1999, saying his interest was driven by his marine background and passion.

“At the time, obviously there were all these flying boats. So successive governments came, starting with Babatunde Fashola who built the Ikorodu Jetty and a few others. He also bought one or two boats. Subsequently, Akinwumi Ambode was elected as governor after him and his administration bought a few more boats.

“It was during Ambode’s administration that I took a keen interest. I said to my team, and myself, “Why don’t we try to work with the Ambode government?” I always dread going to Ikorodu whenever we have a few family functions. This is due to the fact that I cannot afford to stay in the traffic for three hours. I just realised that it just took me only 20 minutes to get to Ikorodu by water,” he said.


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