The CHAIRMAN, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup, has called on the Federal and Lagos State governments to commence urgent repairs of roads leading into and out of Apapa, as a way of addressing the perennial traffic gridlock currently being experienced in the port city.
Stakeholders often blamed the gridlock on indiscriminate parking of fuel trucks by members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, queuing to load fuel at the numerous depots located around the area.
In a statement, Haastrup said that operational activities at the ports in Lagos have been impaired as a result of the traffic gridlock in Apapa.
She therefore stressed the need for the relocation of tank farms from the port area as a means of finding lasting solution to the gridlock.
She said, “It is an aberration to site tank farms in Apapa and around the port environment. It is not safe, and it hampers efficiency at the ports. The traffic menace will persist until the bold initiative is taken to relocate these oil depots to more remote areas. Several locations have been suggested and it is high time a bold decision is taken on the issue.
“We cannot close our eyes to a situation where trucks park indiscriminately on the road. The call-up system where only trucks that are required at the port at a given time are called up from their parks or holding bays will be of tremendous benefits to the system.
“It is our appeal that the Federal and Lagos State Governments grant the request of maritime truck operators for dedicated truck parks away from the port environment. This will decongest the port access roads and free them from the menacing congestion and gridlock we now encounter on a daily basis.” she stated.
She further argued that the poor state of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, and the Ijora-Apapa Road remains the main cause of the perennial traffic situation.
She said: “The port industry is suffering badly as a result of congestion on our roads. Vessel turnaround time has been badly affected because of the congestion on our roads. To say that it has been a nightmare getting in and out of Apapa will amount to stating the obvious.”
She noted that it has become imperative for all stakeholders to work together with government to solve the traffic problem, which is already having negative impact on cargo turnaround time at the nation’s gateways.
While commending the various efforts so far put in place by concerned authorities, the STOAN Chairman said the gridlock is far from over and may persist “until the roads are repaired”, adding that group has joined hands with the NPA, and other stakeholders in managing the traffic menace.