Poor policy implementation worsens access to Lagos ports
•Bad roads jeopardise N7trn projected earnings yearly
Poor implementation of the various directives by government agencies has contributed to the frustrations and challenges caused by the deplorable state of the ports access roads, leading to the daily gridlock that denies importers and agents access into the nation’s busiest ports in Lagos.
The Guardian investigations on the Apapa axis revealed that indiscriminate parking by heavy vehicles has kept the roads impassable, despite the directives by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC); Lagos State Government, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA), and others.
There have been several meeting and consensuses to rid the articulated vehicles of parking indiscriminately on the ports access roads, but to no avail.
However, NPA has issued fresh directives critical to the effective management of the traffic situation around the Apapa ports.The General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA, Abdullahi Goje, who confirmed this in a statement to The Guardian, said: “With effect from November 23, 2017, all shipping companies must house their empty trucks at their holding bays outside of the port location pending the time for vessel loading.
“Trucks called up to access the port must maintain a single lane profile as designated by new Traffic Management/Enforcement Team, comprising FRSC, LASTMA, the Nigerian Navy, the National Civil Defence Corps and NPA Security.“Tramping trucks milling around in search of customers within the Port area will be impounded by the inter-agency Traffic Management/Enforcement Team and dealt with in accordance with the law. The NPA, as part of its commitment to the decongestion of traffic in the Apapa area, will advertise for the licensing of trailer parks as a way of creating holding bay facilities for truckers.
“In addition, the NPA will deploy an effective call-up system, which will link the Port gate with the trailer parks facility, and as such, trucks will only be called up at the appropriate time,” he said.Also, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), in a letter to the Presidency, said the very deplorable state of the access roads into the Apapa and Tincan Island ports is worrisome, and jeopardising Nigeria’s economic growth.
The letter signed by its President, Increase Uche, said the two critical ports when well harnessed and utilised optimally, could generate up to N7trillion yearly for the country.“It is a common saying that if a country has access to the sea she has access to the riches of the world. In these days and times where international trade is in the front burner of countries, Nigeria cannot and should indeed not be found wanting; more so, as we have these ports in our territorial boundary.
“It is apt sir to let you know that the situation of these roads has been like this for months on end without any visible attempt by Government to ameliorate the situation. In a situation where on a daily basis articulated trucks and petrol tankers stay for days on bridges that were not initially built to carry such enormous weight leaves much to be desired. We believe that the integrity of these bridges right now could be called to question.
“It has been said that because of this unacceptable situation, Nigeria is losing close to N12billionn daily. This is beside the stress and concurrent health implication to those who commute on these roads daily,” the letter read.The freight forwarders therefore appealed to the President to declare a state of emergency on the roads.
“The tank farms that envelope the entire Apapa and environs should, as a matter of urgency, be made to be relocated outside the port environment, to make the fuel tankers that come into Apapa everyday to lift fuel on a daily basis be looked into. The tank farms constitute a danger to lives and properties of the people, who either live or work in Apapa, Ijora, Coconut areas among others.
“In the event of any emergency as a result of fire outbreak, no one living in the area will be able to escape, as the two roads leading to these areas are always completely blocked by traffic caused by these trucks. Even the emergency services won’t be able to move into the area to effect any help as the roads will be blocked. As a proactive measure to this probability Sir, we plead once again that a state of emergency be declared on these roads to save both the economy, and the catastrophe that can occur if there is a fire incident in any of the tank farms. The current crisis arising from traffic gridlock occasioned by bad road within the access road to Apapa/Tincan Island Port necessitated our request for state of emergency to be declared. We just hope that the overhead bridges will not collapse any moment because the integrity of the bridges are not guaranteed right now,” the letter ended.
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