BY GODFREY BIVBERE
PRESIDENT of the Shippers’ Association of Lagos State, Jonathen Nicol, has said that the two weeks traffic gridlock which grounded business activities in the port city cost the industry over N1.3 billion.
Speaking with Vanguard in Lagos, Nicol said that all sectors of the industry were affected aversely during the period of the traffic lock down.
The Shippers’ Association boss explained that for the period, the Nigeria Customs Service, Terminal Operators, Shipping Companies, Clearing agents, Shippers, truckers, amongst others did next to nothing and that definitely affected their revenue.
According to him, the traffic jammed “directly resulted in partial congestion and once there is congestion the volume of income will dwindle. We must have lost about N1.3 billion during the period which is an enormous lose.”
On the cause of the traffic gridlock, he said the bulk of the problem is human related and that is why it took government just two days to temporarily solve it. He blamed the presence of tank farms and the city that has developed to meet the port as another reason for the traffic congestion.
Nicol called on government to relocate the tank farms from their present location to ease the traffic jam in the area. He further noted that apart from easing the traffic congestion, the danger posed by these tank farms can only best be imagined.
“The tank farms should not even stay along a place where thousands, millions of people converge for business. One would have thought by now that the tank farms would have been removed or relocated to a place far away from human habitation, maybe somewhere in Badagry or even Ondo state.”
“So trucks can now evacuate petroleum products from the tank farms but as it is now, it is compulsory that government should move them away.
Imagine the bomb blast or maybe industrial explosion we had in Apapa recently, imagine it was Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS, it would have been disastrous because it would have moved from one tank farm to the other.
I do not think government would have had it ease to contain such inferno.”
Reminded that tank farm operators have in the past called on residents Apapa to relocate, Nicol said it is unfortunate that they are putting individual consideration in a matter that affects thousands and millions of lives.
He said if they can not relocate then they should stop the business. He stressed that their position on the issue is because government is yet to make up its mind about the relocation of these facilities, adding that when government decides to relocate them, they will have not choice but to move, he stated.