By Ezinne Azunna & Genevieve Aningo

Concurrent utilisation of the multimodal means of transport has been identified  by the critical stakeholders as the key to cost effectiveness and efficiency in the distribution of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) in Nigeria. 


This was highlighted at the affinity meeting of the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain- Africa (CARISCA) which held on Thursday in Lagos in collaboration with the Arizona State University (ASU), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the School of Transport and Logistics, Lagos State University, Lagos Business School and other transport stakeholders.


The brainstorming session tagged “The Impact of Urban Transport Systems on Fast Moving Consumer Goods Supply Chain” was the first in Nigeria and was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


Delivering a paper titled “City Logistics and Last-Mile Delivery in Lagos”,  Prof . Samuel Odewumi drew the attention of stakeholders on the need for new studies to centre on last mile deliveries in order to proffer solutions to the skyrocketing cost of FMCGs.


He said last mile deliveries are important and policies that will allow for easy movement of these products need to be prioritised if the cost is to be reduced.


According to him, “The last mile cost more than the first 100 miles.  The cost of bringing your goods from Sokoto to Lagos is less than 10% of the cost  for taking it from Mile 2 in Lagos to take the ship to take it out.  The city logistics delivery system takes more fuel, more time than that single trip of 100’s and 1000’s of containers.  It is very massive and it is what all of us should start to consider and do research if we want prices of goods to go down.”


He noted the occupying positions at the Ministry of Transportation by non-transport professionals, multiple governance and tax regimes at the Apapa port corridor, so many road constructions and the overlapping function of enforcement agencies as some peculiar factors that make last mile delivery costly in Lagos .


Prof Odewunmi who proffered a way forward for the industry stated that “ we have to professionalise the ministry, we have to proclaim the State and Federal Transport policy and the Transport Commission has to come up.”


Making his contribution on in the area of “ Transportation, Planning and Regulations” , the Dean of LASU School of Transport , Prof. Charles Asenime, acknowledged the existence of some pockets of efforts by Lagos state to enhance city transportation.


He named the Lagos traffic law, ban on motorcycles, establishment of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) , expansion of road networks as some of the efforts made towards the robust and cost effective transportation of Fast Moving Consumer Goods.


He added that the existing transport system is inadequate for and explaining his stance he said; “when we say inadequate means of transport, that means what is on ground is not enough to take care of demand”.


Prof . Asenime urged government to first seek an understanding of how transportation works when building a city.


“In city planning you cannot plan a city without  knowing transportation because it is an integral part of city planning.  Transport Planning and Regulations Policy must respond to temporal changes in land use”.


Speaking earlier, Prof Oke Adegoke, the Senior Technical Advisor and Component 1 Co-Lead for CARISCA expressed hope that government will collaborate with the academia to find lasting solution to issues plaguing the transport system.


“ We don’t have the magic wand to solve all the issues but we hope that some of the things coming out from the academia, we hope that government will work more in collaboration with the academia to  implement some of those solutions”, he said.


Deciphering the challenge of the transport system in-country he stated; “as you know and have heard from today’s presentation, you can talk about transport problems  a whole day but I will just break it into two- it is the issue of demand and supply.


“Nigeria is a fast growing country, the  population is close to 200million and is growing. The supply which relates to the capacity is not sufficient to take care of this demand. Limited road networks for example, not growing and not being developed to match the demand, that’s a problem, that’s why you have the gridlock.


“It is the same thing for all the infrastructure we have, the demand is much more than the supply. We are not growing and developing our infrastructure to match our growing population, our growing demand and our demand is growing in every way.”


Speaking exclusively to TNMN, Abdul Samed Muntaka, the Senior Technical Advisor and Component 3 Co-Lead for CARISCA and KNUST’s Supply Chain Management department chair pushing the need for a  more effective and efficient transport systems said much of food produced annually is wasted as a result of poor transportation networks.


His words;

“ Over the years a lot of money has gone into supporting farmers of different sizes with their production. They produce a lot and half of it stays on the farm and gets rotten, which means that there is an issue. Nobody wants their produce to go bad. The supply chain includes transportation , it includes distribution so it’s important for farmers to know what are the best means of transportation and where they can supply to. That’s where supply chain meets agricultural production.


“ The supply chain looks at the supply all the way to the consumer. The downstream supply chain is now the problem after the production has come. So what CARISCA is doing through the support of USAID is to find out the transportation challenges and how it affects the supply chain of FMCGs. These are the everyday goods that keep life going.”


TNMN reports that CARISCA is done through a pact between the Arizona State University (ASU) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to support higher education institutions in building the capacity necessary to provide best-in-class degree programs and training, facilitate research translation and utilisation, engage stakeholders in best practices and policy changes that strengthen supply chains, and increase inclusion and impact for women in supply chain management.


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