The Apapa gridlock has defiled all solutions meant to bring it under control, it has seen and outlasted so many task forces and has become as many describe it, a Hydra headed monster.
Stakeholders at the Powered Pen Media Special Congress, have called on the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to give matching orders to all shipping companies and Trucking companies operating in Nigeria, to provide holding bays for empty containers and trucks which litter the port access roads.
Addressing Journalists at the special Congress of The Powerful Pen last Thursday in Lagos, the immediate past vice chairman of National Association of Road Transport owners (NARTO), Alh. Abdulahi Inua lamented that close to 80 per cent the trucks blocking the roads are carrying empty containers. Inua called on the appropriate authorities responsible for their control, to as a matter of urgency order these shipping companies to provide holding bays for empty containers.
Speaking also, the managing Director, Bontex Nigeria Ltd., Chief Boniface Okoye, observed that:
The shipping companies are not regulated, they ride a rough shod over Nigerians without being checked, container deposits are not refunded, demurrages are recklessly charged, the same people who own these shipping companies are the ones who influence policies and to cap it all, they collude with traffic managers to frustrate agents’ efforts.”
The shipping companies he said, are not checked,
they do whatever they like without being questioned, ” NSC is just pretending to work, they are a part of this problem, because they have failed to regulate what the shippers pay to the shipping companies, they approve whatever the shipping companies charge because of pecuniary interest .”
Also speaking, the Tincan chapter Chairman, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Alh. Kazeem Isa Adua said that Apapa and Tin Can port receive 75% of total cargo inflow into the country but unfortunately, these two ports do not get the commensurate development to make things easy for port users.
To him, the Apapa traffic melee is man made, this he attributed to the activities of those saddled with the responsibility of managing the traffic.
The present traffic control measure should be overhauled to make movement of trucks and containers easier.
Also, government agencies given regulatory responsibilities should wake-up to their responsibilities.
Isa called for the proper management of the truck park constructed by government across To can seems not to be properly managed, as some truck owners have turned it to their personal park.
Isa said that to solve this traffic problem, barge operation should be encouraged and other ports outside Tin can and Apapa should be given due attention to reduce the influx of trucks on our roads and also reduce the gridlock by making other ports fully operational.