8th January, 2018
The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) on Monday said it expected the Apapa gridlock to reduce before the end of January as a result of decline in importation activities.
The STOAN Chairperson, Mrs Vicky Haastrup, in a statement in Lagos said the reduction of the gridlock on access roads to Lagos ports was being expected due to an anticipated drop in importation.
“The last quarter of every year usually marks the peak of importation activities at the port.
“Now that the 2017 importation peak season is over, the number of trucks coming to the ports is expected to reduce, thereby, providing temporary relief to road users.”
Haastrup said that the situation, however, meant less cargo and less volume in the port, especially in the first quarter of 2018.
The terminal operator said that the off-peak period provided opportunity for the Federal and Lagos State Governments to address the root cause of the gridlock.
“The reasons for the gridlock are along two major lines.
“One is that there is a proliferation of petroleum tankers due to the preponderance of fuel tank farms and petroleum depots in the Apapa community.
“This is an anomaly, which should urgently be corrected by the Federal Government. The correction is to facilitate the distribution of petroleum products through pipelines and not using trucks.’’
According to her, once government can get the refineries working, there will no longer be need for tank farms in Apapa, which attract these trucks.
“The other reason for the gridlock is the dilapidated state of roads leading into and out of Apapa as well as the absence of truck parks.
“Government can address these by taking advantage of the off-peak season to intensify road rehabilitation works and make relevant provision for truck holding bays before the next cycle of high level activities set in.
“There is also an opportunity to begin implementation of the much-touted truck call up system to ensure that only trucks that have business to do at the ports are granted access into Apapa,’’ she said.
Haastrup also urged the Federal Government to review its tariff policy on some imported items including vehicles, rice and fish to reduce smuggling.
The STOAN chairperson said that the nation’s seaports had been positioned to support the Federal Government’s economic diversification and export drive.
According to her, terminal operators across the various ports have made substantial investments in development of their various areas of operations.
“We have carried out major investments in terminal upgrades, acquisition of modern cargo handling equipment and training of port workers.
“All these were done with the view of supporting government’s economic aspirations for the country, including the drive to diversify the nation’s economic base and promote non-oil exports,’’ Haastrup said.