Terminal operators seek expansion of Apapa port areas

The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) on Monday called for the regeneration of portions of the Apapa community to expand the port.

 The association’s spokesman, Mr Bolaji Akinola, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said this would give more room for more access roads within the port areas.

``On the long-term, we have recommended a total regeneration of the Apapa community. 

``What has happened is that the town has encroached on the port. It was not so. We now have a whole lot of activities that are not even port-related into the port.

``Certain sections of the Apapa community, am sorry will have to be brought down and allowed as port areas. 

``For instance, Creek road, all that side of creek road from the Wharf down till you get to roundabout and Liverpool. Am sorry, I do not think any business or residence or building should be there. 

``All of those need to be reacquired by government and the owners paid compensation and those buildings brought down.

``That area leveled up, made into roads and temporary holding bays for trucks and the same thing with certain areas of the Tin-Can port. 

``So, a total re-generation is required; more bridges and flyovers are needed; this is a plan I believe government already has.

``So, there is a need to implement that total regeneration of the Apapa area as a port community in the long-term. 

``We should see that happen within the next seven to 10 years. 

``So, these are our recommendations and once those are done, I believe the issue of Apapa traffic gridlock and the rest will be over. 

He said the perennial traffic gridlock in Apapa contributed to high dwell time of cargoes at the ports.

The maritime consultant said this led to additional costs as cargo movement by trucks out of the ports had increasingly been slowed.

Akinola said government needed to reacquire portions of Apapa community which encroached on the port areas, to build truck holding bays and other infrastructure to support port operations.

He said while the call for regenerating Apapa was long-term, other short and medium-term measures including having trailer parks with modern facilities should be considered.

Akinola said this would prevent trucks congesting the port corridors.

The STOAN spokesman said it was crucial to fix the dilapidated roads, while proper traffic control should be maintained.

He also suggested evacuation of petroleum cargo done by barges to ports close to various zones for onward distribution.