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Terminal operators reject new port guidelines, fear congestion

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The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has described the new guidelines rolled out recently by the Presidential Task Team on Apapa gridlock as a “recipe for chaos” that could compound traffic on the access roads and worsen port congestion.

In a statement yesterday in Lagos by its spokesperson, Bolaji Akinola, the group alleged that the new rules were formulated without inputs from critical stakeholders and regards for the prevailing cargo backlog at the nation’s seaports.

STOAN stated: “It is clear that this task team has outlived its relevance, and its operations are not in tandem with the realities on the ground in Apapa.

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“The Federal Government deliberately left the ports open so as to keep the flow of essential supplies to Nigerians at this difficult time, but the task team has come up with guidelines that suppress the timely evacuation of cargo at the port.

“Is the task team aware that Apapa is a port city? Why then is Mr. Kayode Opeifa creating guidelines that restrict the movement of trucks evacuating cargoes at the port? Is this not contrary to the position of the Federal Government that the logistics and supply chain should not be interrupted?”

The terminal operators, therefore, rejected “in totality” the guidelines “which restrict the movement of trucks evacuating cargo from the port only to a certain time of the day.”

They said the ports operate round the clock, hence “cargo evacuation must be done round the clock, including night, to avoid congestion.”

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STOAN stated that the part of the principles that allow port-bound trucks to access the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa only via the Wharf Road while those being used for other purposes have unrestricted use of all other access roads was “ill-advised.”

The association also implored the Federal Government to mandate the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to take over traffic management on the port access roads, “so as to clear the chaos created by the task team.”

“NPA has a robust security department that had done a good job of managing the traffic on the port access roads in the past, and it is the consensus of stakeholders that they should return to that role,” it clarified.

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