Council says absence of master plan responsible for port city traffic gridlock

The absence of a master plan, and non-reservation of areas for possible port expansion, particularly not designating area five kilometres from the port as port corridors have been blamed for traffic congestion in Apapa.
Chief Kunle Folarin, the Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (NPCC) disclosed this in an interview in Lagos.

 “What we could have got from the beginning is a master plan. There was no master plan for the port 30-40 years ago.

“There would have been reservations for possible expansion of the port, and when you talk about the port, you are not alone talking about key aprons or the fenced area that you call the port.

“The port is five kilometres from the port gate; five kilometres from the port gate is a recess corridor of the port. The port corridors must have included and be seen in a master plan,” he said.

According to Folarin, the Apapa port must have been conceived as an import end to traffic alone.

He said in that vein, industrial bases were conceived to enable businesses get their raw materials fast from the port to their factories and plants, thereby encroaching on the immediate port environment with small-scale industries.

He added that as the areas developed into a commercial centre for trading, residential areas came up limiting a possibility of expansion for the port beyond how it was in the beginning.

 “There was encroachment for industry, for residential and commercial enterprises, so, how do you expand the port.

“The port that was receiving a maximum of 33million metric tons of cargo; import and export in the early ‘70s suddenly blew to 140 to 150 million metric tons for import and export.

“So, how do you accommodate the traffic that will bring the export, the traffic that will evacuate the import, while land is inelastic as in economic principle?”

He concluded that until corridors are created for the port, the traffic situation in Apapa may remain the same for a long time.