By Godfrey Bivbere
Seaport TerminalÂ Operators Association of Nigeria (STOA) has lamented the poor port access road, noting that it is contributing to increase freighting goods from the nationâ€™s ports in Lagos, even as it kicked against the introduction of the wharf landing fees (Wharf landing fee is a new levy introduced by the Lagos State government on goods from the port.)
Speaking on behalf of STOA recently, Vice Chairman of the association, Captain Emmanuel Omotayo, said that the problem of bad roads in Apapa has become an embarrassing stigma.
According to him, â€œCrumbling roads and highways in Apapa especially in the port areas are imposing a hidden tax on port users by increasing the costs of maintaining trucks and the cost of cargo deliveryâ€, says the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOA). He said that normal interaction have been frustrated by bad roads in the maritime industry today especially at the ports in Apapa. He further noted that consignees and truck owners are in distress as the trucks are not used optimally. Several potholes and craters on the roads imply that the trucks would keep breaking down and all of these have their attendant negative consequences on operations at the port as well as the cost of doing business at the port, he stressed.
In his words, â€œWith the traffic gridlock all over the place in Apapa, you can be sure that port congestion is knocking on our doors again because if the cargo cannot be transported out of the terminals in good time there is bound to be a backlog which will eventually lead to port congestion again and vessel queues will return. This is the reality staring us in the face right now.â€
Omotayo also said that the Apapa gridlock has its attendant security implication as it is common for thieves, rapists and other miscreants to entrench themselves in bad portions of the roads where all vehicles virtually come to a halt.
â€œCommercial activity in Apapa is suffering and many workers at the ports come and go to work under fear of attack by miscreants who take advantage of the standstill on the road to perpetrate dastardly actsâ€, he added.