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Operators bemoan traffic gridlock on Lagos ports’ access roads

Operators in the maritime
industry have expressed concern about the perennial traffic gridlock along the
port access roads in Apapa and Tin- Can Island.

The operators, who spoke in
separate interviews with on Monday, said the location of tank farms, lack of
truck holding bays and commercialisation of the port environment were causes of
the gridlock.
Chief Remi Ogungbemi, the
Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) said the truck drivers
operated under very unfriendly environment because there were no holding bays
close to the ports.
According to him, the truck
drivers have to queue up on the roads before they go into the ports.
He said that spaces used by the
truck drivers within the port environment some years ago, had been taken over
by other businesses.
“Years ago, there were spaces
close to the ports where truck drivers could park but all these are gone and
taken over by different businesses that have no reason being around the ports,’’
Ogungbemi said.
He said the trucks often broke
down on the roads because the owners could not afford to maintain them
regularly due to multiple taxation and levies.
“Truck maintenance has been
greatly challenged by the multiple levies paid by truck owners to different
government agencies.
“After such payments, the
truck owners have very little money left to care for themselves and maintain
their trucks.
“The truck owners and the
drivers are going through a tough time and the public should know this, ‘’
Ogungbemi said.
Mr Uchu Block, the Vice-
Chairman, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents
(NCMDLCA), said the location of the tank farms in Apapa was responsible for the
gridlock.
“Nobody has talked about the
tank farms which are located within this area. That is the major cause of this
gridlock.
“You can imagine when the
tankers queue up to go to different tank farms, it automatically means total
blockade for days to come,’’ Block said.
Chief Kunle Folarin, Chairman of
the Ports Consultative Council (PCC), said that the traffic gridlock resulted
from location of other businesses in the ports.
Folarin urged the Federal
Government to look into the increase in cargo traffic without a corresponding
expansion of the port areas.
“The immediate port
environment was encroached by some industries.
“In effect, the ports were not
given a chance to grow beyond what they were in the beginning,’’ Folarin said.
Mr John Aluya, Chairman,
Corporate Affairs and Strategic Committee, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria
(MAN) said the traffic gridlock had caused 25 per cent increase in the cost of
production.
He blamed the truck drivers for
carrying out repairs of their trucks on the roads and using same roads as their
parking lot.
Aluya, however, said the
establishment of a truck call-up system was necessary to address the issue.
He said that the roads must be
repaired with the assistance of the port concessionaires so that the truck
drivers would work in an ideal environment.
“We need to look at the
challenges critically because in other parts of the world, the concessionaires
are responsible for repair of the access roads to the ports.
“We need an effective truck
call-up system before talking about taking action against those parking on the
roads,” Aluya said.
A Shipper, Mr Okorie Obioma,
said the traffic situation was as a result of the continuous pressure of the
trucks on the roads, which had left the roads in dilapidated condition.
He said the problem could only
be solved “when the rail network in the ports are restored and functional’’.
Obioma also called for the
expansion of the port access roads.
A Consultant to AMATO, Chief
Chris Orode said the truck terminals at the International Trade Fair Complex
along Badagry Expressway needed financing.
He said if investors could
partner with AMATO on the project, there would be a dedicated road for the
trucks.
A port operator, Mr Daniel
Odibe, said the construction of a truck park was necessary to clear the perennial
traffic gridlock.
He said that the truck park
would make the call-up system effective.
The stakeholders agreed that it
was also necessary to have a monitoring team to ensure that “truckers do not
park indiscriminately along the access roads’’.

Businesses within Apapa and
Tin-Can Island regularly suffered loss of man-hour due to the traffic gridlock,
which leaves the road users stranded for hours. 

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