Lagos, Caverton target capital flight reduction with local boat production

The Lagos State Government has partnered Caverton Marine to enhance local boat production, to tackle challenges in waterways transportation and reduce capital flight through boat importation by 70 per cent.

This collaboration involves the local construction of 25 state-of-the-art ferries, each with a capacity for 40 passengers as well as creating a viable and efficient water transportation system that will become an integral part of the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Recall that waterways transportation in the state has been plagued by numerous boat mishaps, resulting in approximately 900 lives lost in 2023. The incidents have been attributed to the poor condition of the 2,200 boats operating on the waterways, 78 per cent of which are reportedly not seaworthy, according to authorities.

During a tour of the Caverton Marine Boatyard in Badore-Ajah, Lagos, yesterday, the General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, highlighted that boosting local boat production would significantly reduce capital flight by 70 per cent, noting the high cost of boat importation.

He emphasised the state government’s commitment to the sustainable development of water transportation and pointed out the critical importance of local boat production, especially given the rising costs of imports and exports.

Emmanuel said the project with Caverton Marine is a public-private collaboration, aimed to enhance the efficiency of the state’s waterways transport system by constructing locally made boats that meet international standards and place the state on the global map.

The Chief Executive Officer of Caverton Offshore Support Group, Olabode Makanjuola, stated that over N1 billion has been invested in producing the boats, intending to unlock the vast potential of water transportation in Lagos, which has been underutilised for years.

He underscored the importance of alternative modes of public transportation that are efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly, in light of the challenges posed by road congestion and pollution.

Makanjuola highlighted that the ferries will contribute significantly to the state’s transportation infrastructure, with their construction by Nigerians expected to have a substantial impact on job creation and skill development within the local community.

He emphasised that the initiative goes beyond corporate social responsibility, aiming to stimulate economic development in Lagos State by easing commutes and opening up new economic opportunities, including tourism and commerce.

The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Olawale Musa, expressed confidence in the quality of the ferries, which he believes will enhance the safety and comfort of boat transport.

He revealed that 15 of the 25 ferries will soon be commissioned and deployed to improve the safety, life, and security of the transportation system.

Musa also mentioned that with the latest technology integrated into the ferries, the state government would be able to monitor the waterways more effectively and address gaps in the water transport system.

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