By Godwin Oritse
PLANS are underway to move trucks off the Apapa-Oshodi express way to the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex. The Association of Maritime Trucks Owners (AMATO), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) have agreed to move all their trucks and personnel to a parking facility at the Lagos Trade fair complex .
The move is coming on the heels of the traffic gridlock on the Apapa/Oshodi Express way that has almost paralysed port activities and delayed cargo clearance from the ports.
The project which is being midwifed by Multi-Aulic Limited, is to ensure that no truck driver is allowed to leave the terminal unless such a driver is called to the port for cargo evacuation.
The facility, according to Managing Director of Multi-Aulic Limited Alhaji Alhassan Dantata has the capacity to accommodate 5,000 trucks adding that the holding bay has four truck terminals with equipped recreational centres , eateries, toilets and other facilities when fully in operation.
Speaking to newsmen during a tour of the facility by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Maritime Matters, Mr. Leke Oyewole, Dantata noted that the proximity of the complex to the port and completion of the ten lane Lagos-Badagry road will further complement movement of cargo in and out of the ports.
Commending the efforts of both the private firm and the other groups Oyewole said that the scheme is classical example of Mr. President’s Transformation agenda, which will reduce congestion at the nation’s seaports thereby enhancing trade facilitation in Nigeria.
The presidential aide noted that the initiative will provide logistics to ports operations, reduce corruption and enhance security in the maritime industry as the human element in transactions at the ports will be eliminated.
He urged owners of the facility to develop a synergy with the Nigerian Ports Authority and other stakeholders in order to achieve the objectives of the scheme.
Dantata disclosed that one of the terminals is intended to be dedicated to export processing, and this is to serve as a one stop shop for export services, noting that the centre will also provide a large cold room.
Dantata further disclosed that all old and rickety trucks will soon disappear from the roads as arrangements have been made to replace them, adding that two thousand new trucks have been ordered for that purpose.
On the issue of security, water and power Dantata explained that boreholes have been sunk for water supply, the entrance to the terminal has electronically controlled gates and will be lit twenty four hours, just as sniffer dogs are being trained to fortify the security of the place.
A sixty KVA power generator will be on standby for 24 hours power supply.