By Godwin Oritse
Maritime industry experts have indicated that the current traffic gridlock at the Apapa port area more worsens as a result of a projected increase in the volume of port activities in the near future and the haphazard port management system in the country.
According to them, the Federal Government’s efforts to fix the Apapa and Tin Can port access roads to address the problem of port congestion may only see the problem dissipate for about four or five years but the menace would return worse than the current state.
The veterans who were speaking at the maiden quarterly business roundtable organized by MMS Plus Newspapers tagged, “Economic Outlook: Quarterly Verdict”, with the theme; “Post Election Economy: Exploring Strategies for Growth”, stressed that the port corridor must be reserved and restricted as an exclusive economic zone.
The Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (PCC) Otunba Kunle Folarin, commenting on the situation also revealed that he has worked on the issue of the port corridor for over sixteen years, yet he was unhappy that his predictions on the port corridor were correct.
“The port corridor should be a restricted economic zone. It is a place that should be exclusive for port operations. However, in Nigeria, we have several residential houses surrounding the ports. Some of them are 10 meters from the port, so it is no longer a port corridor. Another issue is that a port is a transit area, a holding bay but not a storage area. It should be an area where ships discharge cargoes and the cargoes should leave the ports just as the ships also leave the ports. It is a transit area not supposed to hold onto a cargo or ship beyond a certain time” he said.