‘Converting Lilypond to truck park will not solve Apapa gridlock’
The Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA) has kicked against call in some quarters for the conversion of Lilypond Container Terminal, Ijora, Lagos to a truck park.
President of the group, Godwin Onyekazi, said Lilypond does not have the capacity to serve as a truck park. He also said that using Lilypond as a truck park will compound traffic gridlock in the Apapa area.
According to him, “Lilypond is a container depot. It was established as an overflow facility and it is now also being used as an export processing centre from where government intends to boost agricultural export.
“Recently the Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh was at Lilypond to flag off yam export. So in addition to being an overflow container depot, it is also an export processing centre and we all know that this type of centre is important in Nigeria’s revenue diversification drive.”
The association’s president also said that because Lilypond is located close to the entrance of Apapa on the Dockyard road and Ijora-Wharf axis, using the depot as a truck terminal will further compound the Apapa gridlock.
“What will happen is that the entire place will be in a lockdown, making it totally impossible to enter or exit Apapa,” he said.Onyekazi said the association’s position in solving the recurring Apapa gridlock remains the implementation of the Apapa regeneration plan, which was developed in 2014.
“A feasibility study was jointly carried out by the Federal and Lagos State governments on how to eliminate the gridlock. The study gave birth to the Apapa regeneration plan, which includes the construction of an ultramodern truck terminal and the reclaiming of government’s right of way on Creek Road and Apapa road. We believe the implementation of this plan will provide a holistic solution to the Apapa traffic problem,” he said.
Onyekazi said that pending implementation of the regeneration plan, government should complete work on the truck park opposite Tin Can Island Port and also compel tank farm operators and shipping companies to have holding bays to take trucks off the roads.
He said, “Why has the government failed to complete construction of the Tin Can Island truck park? They have been on it for more than six years. “The major problem we’re facing right now is that the roads in and out of Apapa are very bad; one lane of Wharf road is shut for repairs; trucks and tankers are coming from all over the country without anywhere to park before it is their turn to enter the port.
“This is a huge problem that requires short and long term solutions. The long-term solution is the implementation of the Apapa regeneration plan. The short-term solution is to ensure effective traffic monitoring and control. Government must also ensure that tank farm operators and multinational container shipping companies provide holding bays for their trucks.”