25th July, 2011
Mr. Chris Ogbonna, the Public Relations Officer, Ports and Terminal Multiservices Ltd. (PTML) Command, Tin-can Island, has urged the Federal Government to overhaul the Apapa-Oshodi trunk road.
He said the overhaul was necessary to ease traffic congestion and leverage Lagos ports contribution to the economy.
Ogbonna told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the trunk road constructed about 30 years ago needed urgent rehabilitation as a major exit way from the ports.
He said that Lagos ports stakeholders concern over the state of the road was due to the rehabilitation cost implication which was beyond the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
â€œAll the maritime stakeholders find it very difficult to access the road while coming and going out of the two Lagos ports, Apapa and Tin-Can port,â€ he said.
Ogbonna said also that in addition to poor state of the road, shipping companiesâ€™ lack of holding bays for the storage of empty containers contributed to the high level of congestion.
He suggested a convergence of resources by shipping companies toward establishing holding bays outside the ports as means of decongesting the trunk road leading to the port.
â€œIf all the shipping companies own holding bays, there will not be any reason for trucks to block the access road since it will enable truck drivers to drop their empty containers in the bays,â€ he said.
Mr. Vincent Okechuku, a customs agent at the PTML told NAN that the indiscipline of truck drivers, who use the roads as holding bays, made it near difficult to access the ports.
â€œEveryday, trucks queue on the road with empty containers since there is no holding bays to deliver the empty containers.
â€œIf all shipping companies have holding bays it will enable free flow of movement of cargo and vehicle,â€ Okechukwu said.
An official of Association of Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) who pleaded anonymity, also identified the location of petroleum products tank farms near the ports as a major factor in road congestion.
The officer who suggested the relocation of the tank farms to Badagry argued that the daily road congestion was the result of poor environmental impact assessment (EIA) carried out years ago.
He described as unacceptable, the clogging of the ports access road by about 2,000 trucks that struggle daily to lift petroleum products from the tank farms.
According to him, the daily man-hours wasted due to traffic, demands that NPA and other stakeholders should seek the possibility of building holding bays to decongest the road in the interim.