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Cross Border Transportation : Maritime Shipper Ventures Into Road Transport

Achouka that used to travel by sea now takes passengers to Cotonou, Lome and Nigeria via Ikom by lan

Cameroon and Nigeria though found in separate sub-regions, are not only great neighbours in terms of bilateral relations, but also intermingle as social life is concerned. Since no visa is needed to travel from Cameroon to Nigeria and vice versa, many people travel in and out both countries with ease. Cameroon, it should be noted, is the only country in Central Africa that enters Nigeria without a visa. About seven years ago, just maritime transport was used to travel to Nigeria which was not only slow but risky as well. The lone maritime transporter that existed for over 10 years known as Achouka ferried passengers to and fro. The same maritime transport company, Achouka, has come up with Afrique CON; a land transport agency that connects Africa by road. The land transport agency travels to Aba, Abuja, Cotonou, Lagos, Lomé, Onitsha and Port Harcourt via Ikom near Ekok in Cameroon’s South West Region.

Afrique CON’s Accountant, Valery Ndayong, told CBT the land carrier that went operational earlier this year, transports at least 60 passengers to various destinations on a weekly basis- they carry out three trips per week. With the good state of roads, passengers that feared travelling by sea now travel comfortably in air-conditioned buses. Most businessmen now travel to Nigeria and Cotonou in less than 2days but transport their cargo to Cameroon through ships and boats. 

The accountant, who is also in charge of operations in the company, disclosed take-off from Douala is usually between 10pm and 11pm in order to arrive Mamfe at about 3am, have enough time to rest and continue the journey from 5am in order to travel throughout the day since travelling at night is not too conducive. Though the buses are there to give passengers the comfort they deserve throughout their journey, many a traveller are yet to patronise the business. According to him, some complain it is more expensive than the clandestine buses that ply the road, however, others have it that the agency is a wonderful thing.“Though expensive than clandestine buses, it is at least four times cheaper than travelling by air. Transport fare from Douala to Abuja is FCFA 63,000, which is far cheaper than an air ticket,” he said.

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