The General Manager, SIFAX Haulage and Logistics Limited, Mr. Saheed Lasisi, has called for the merger of haulage firms in the country to ensure the development of the transport industry.
He also called for strict enforcement of standards in haulage sub sector, pointing out that it remains a key factor that would aid the development of the country's haulage sector of the economy.
The firm is one of the subsidiaries of SIFAX Group, a multinational corporation with investment in aviation, maritime, oil and gas, haulage and logistics, and hospitality.
Lasisi, who described the haulage industry in the country as an "emerging" one, noted that to move it rapidly forward to a booming and well-developed industry where investors would be willing to invest massively, the regulators and other stakeholders must take the issue of standards enforcement seriously, particularly in the type of trucks operators use.
His words: "The Nigerian haulage industry is still at the evolving stage. This is due primarily to the fact that the right set of people is not involved in the business yet. Also, the right kind of equipment is not being used. Ninety per cent of haulage operators in Nigeria still use old and refurbished trucks. No wonder, you see accidents involving trucks on our roads almost everyday.
"For the industry to experience the kind of growth it has the potential of achieving, it is my firm belief that the regulators and other stakeholders like the government agencies, terminal operators and importers must insist on certain minimum standards. For instance, it should not be out of place to insist that only new trucks should be used in the industry. Such enforcement would compel haulage operators to explore the option of merger that will empower them to acquire the right trucks for their businesses."
While reviewing the performance of his company in 2015 financial year, Lasisi noted that the slow start of the country's business landscape early in the year had a slight effect on its operations, but added that despite this, the company still met all its expectations. He noted that the acquisition of 25 brand new trucks contributed greatly to the impressive performance as many clients were persuaded by this huge investment in the new trucks.
He said the company has almost finalised plans to acquire additional 25 brand new trucks due to the increase in its clientele list, especially the latest, APMT, with which it just signed a partnership agreement for the delivery of about 600 containers to its inland container depot in Kano from Lagos every month.
On plans for 2016, Lasisi said: "One of our major targets for the next financial year is to get a permanent place for the company. Our plan is to acquire a large expanse of land that would accommodate all our trucks, because in the next one year, we are planning to increase the number of our trucks to one hundred to service our clients better. The new place will have all the required facilities including parking bay and maintenance workshop."