By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has cancelled its agreement with Nigeria’s major terminal operator, A.P. Moller Terminal in Apapa, Lagos, over the terminal’s move to take over Lilypond container terminal, also in Lagos.
Speaking at the recently concluded 14th edition of the Annual Business Law e-conference, NPA’s Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, said the Authority has decided to convert the container terminal to a truck park.
She stated: “We at Nigerian Ports have given up Lilypond. APMT was the operator and we have cancelled that arrangement to make it a transit truck park. We are now in an advanced stage of discussing with Lagos State government to make available a larger trailer park; the Ahmed Bola Tinubu trailer park in Orile will be so designated and trailer parks that transacts one or two trailers will not be allowed to access the port. Recognising that other mushroom truck parks will also want to be designated, we have our own criteria that you must meet for you to be licensed.
“Even for land use issues why should you have a truck park inside Apapa area? I don’t think Lagos State should look at the land use issues attributable to trailer parks; why should there be a truck park in Apapa that is already congested.
“We now have a truck park in Ogun State. So those that are coming to Lagos can now stay in Ogun State until they are called up and move to Orile. When called up they can now move to Lilypond, then get into the port. We also have to recognize that within the Apapa corridors we have the tank farms, so there are petroleum products evacuation that are done in that area and so you also have attendant congestion arising from that area.”
The NPA boss suggested the use of intermodal transport system to evacuate cargoes in and out of the ports with a view to de-congesting the roads and ultimately de-congesting the ports.
“I think the larger picture is the need for us to recognise the use of intermodal transportation system; you can’t have 90 per cent of your cargo being pushed through the road; the road will get congested and will invariably collapse. We must strengthen the utilisation of inland water ways; we must have our rails system concluded; if not for the COVID we would have concluded our rail connectivity.