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NPA MD, Sanusi Lamido orders rehabilitation of Apapa, Tin Can roads

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Alhaji Sanusi Lamido, has ordered the rehabilitation of roads linking Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports. The directive is contained in a statement by Malam Isa Suwaid, Principal Manager, Public Affairs of NPA, in Lagos Friday. It said the managing director gave the directive while receiving members of Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN), who paid him a courtesy visit in Lagos. Lamido said the directive should be carried out immediately. “The managing director assured that the authority would mobilise both human and material resources to ensure that palliative maintenance works start without delay.’’ Earlier, Chairman of the shipping association of Nigeria, Mr Val Usifo, assured of their cooperation for a common objective in the maritime sector. Meanwhile, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), threatened to shut Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports until the perennial gridlock on ports’ access roads was addressed. The President of ANLCA, Mr Olayiwola Shittu, issued the threat. He said his members were getting ready to down tools, “as the situation had become unbearable.’’ Shittu said that a crucial meeting of the association had been scheduled for June 30, adding that the strike would be one of the major issues to be discussed at the meeting. He said with the gridlock, economic activities in the ports had collapsed and man-hour loss enormous. “It takes about four days for a trailer to have access to load at the terminals. “Without solution soon, our association may have no option than to close the ports for fuel tankers to take over permanently’’, he said. Mr Eugene Nweke, President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), also expressed concern about the gridlock which he attributed to lack of a National Transport Development Plan. Nweke declared that the absence of a such plan had aggravated the traffic problem on ports’ access roads. He said the gridlock had affected Turn Around Time of trucks; Ship Turn Around Time; led to high cargo congestion and cargo diversion to neighbouring ports. The NAGAFF chief said the daily man-hours had been hindered; pointing out that this had affected production. He said the situation had also hindered movement of raw materials to industries which had a spill-over effect on bank loans and overdraft facilities obtained by manufacturers. Nweke said the situation had also rendered port users and service providers idle, adding that on the whole, government’s revenue had nose-dived. He said the whole problems emanated from bad port access roads, poor traffic control and corrupt practices at ports, dilapidated trucks, and increased cargo volume without the corresponding cargo handling facilities. Nweke also mentioned lack of automated gate system, absence of truck parks, unregulated empty container holding bay, lack of intermodal transport system, lack of interconnectivity and wrong location of tank farms. He suggested firm traffic control, stemming of vessels to bonded terminals; use of empty container holding bays by shipping companies and establishment of a modern truck park. The NAGAFF chief said as a long term measure, there should be gradual relocation of tank farms from Apapa and the evolution of a rail transport link between the ports and the Inland Container Depots. President of Shippers’ Association, Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, told NAN that a state of emergency in the maritime sector was inevitable due to gridlock which had created huge revenue loss for government. According to Nicol, the volume of containers cleared from Apapa and Tin-Can ports had reduced by more than half, saying that “under normal atmosphere, Apapa port should deliver between 300 to 400 containers daily.’’ Nicol noted that this figure had been reduced by more than half as a result of many trapped empty containers on trucks. He said, “Shippers (importers) are losing container deposits on those trapped empty container-laden trucks to the gridlock.’’ Nicol said exporters could not send export cargo into the ports to meet up with booked vessels to transport the goods out of the country to ports of destination.
Culled from Freedom Online

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