By Victor Young
AS chaos returned to Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, yesterday, trapping motorists for several hours, the Council of Maritime Transports Unions and Association, COMTUA, has warned that the gridlock would persist for a long time.
It blamed extortion by security operatives, terminal operators, shipping companies, among others for the menace.
COMTUA, at a briefing on behalf of the executive members of the Board of Trustee by its Acting Chairman, Mr. Aloga Ogbogbo, said: “The council was formed to address the challenges bedevilling haulage businesses in the industry more especially in Lagos State (Apapa and Tincan Ports) including harassment, intimidation, extortion and manhandling of our members (especially drivers) became unbearable and worrisome that the council took to the last option to protest against the military joint task force through a letter to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The petition led to the disbandment of the military Task Force and replaced with the current Presidential Task Team, PTT.”
Ogbogbo said: “However, the PPT team has done a lot but much still needed to be done in solving the current traffic gridlock in Apapa and Tincan Island corridor. The traffic gridlock within the port corridors continues to persist because of the shunting of trucks that are not on call-up by some persons with the aid of security operatives, the preferential treatment given to the highest bidders by the security operatives, the inefficiency of the shipping companies and terminal operators in handling empty containers especially system breakdown, and lack of space to stack empty containers.
“Other challenges include lack of functional holding bay by shipping companies for the empty containers, refusal of shipping companies to bring in sweeper vessels to evacuate empty containers and delay by the construction company in the construction of the Apapa Oshodi expressway.”