By RICHARDS ADENIYI
THE Nigerian Ports Authority has also called on the Federal Government to consider ensuring that petroleum cargoes coming into Lagos State are diverted to other ports across the country because the state is already congested.
Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi made this call in Lagos recently while addressing members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport led by its chairman, Senator Sanni Yerima during a stakeholders meeting in Lagos.
Abdullahi said that the initial design of the ports in Lagos was not to handle the quantity of cargoes they are forced to handle presently. He called for the removal of the petroleum tank farms from Apapa.
The NPA boss called on the Senators to look into how the ports can be connected to the rail systems in order to ease traffic, while also ensuring that petroleum products are circulated in the country through the use of pipelines and barges.
Alhaji Isa Bukar, Managing Director of Greenview Development Nigeria Limited, one of the Terminal Operators in Apapa Port Said the present gridlock has been an embarrassment to the stakeholders and government… “We saw it coming for long. What is the cause? All the existing trailer parks in Apapa were turned into Container Terminals, car parks etc by NPA then. The trucks were thrown out and turned into parking spaces.
The Greenview boss observed that these trucks are integral to the ports and without them, there are no ports. “All stakeholders must come together and find a solution by providing trailer parks somewhere. Government should locate these trucks to a park like the one in Tin Can” he said.
Chief Remi Ogungbemi, Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners of Nigeria (AMARTO), said that Apapa has never experienced this type of gridlock before.
“In my lay man view and understanding, the Apapa area is choked up. I see it as maladministration to put all tank farms together in the port environment. This is why we are in a mess. Agreed that the tank farm use the truckers, but it could have been better if the rail system can take the products from the Tank Farm to other states and areas in Nigeria.”