Senate Proffers Solution To Apapa Gridlock

Written by on October 5, 2021

As part of efforts to ease incessant gridlock on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway in Lagos, the Senate on Tuesday urged private terminal operators to explore water transport as an option in the movement of containers.

The Upper Chamber which commended the Federal Government for the reconstruction of Oshodi – Apapa Expressway, and the completion of the Apapa Ports spur line of the Lagos -Ibadan rail, also charged both the Federal Government and the Lagos State government to evacuate all petrol tankers and heavy-duty vehicles along the Apapa ports access road.

Other measures suggested are that the Federal Government in collaboration with the Lagos State government should ensure that tank farms are relocated to other areas.

These resolutions followed the debate on a motion during plenary on Tuesday on the urgent need to tackle protracted Apapa gridlock in Lagos and embrace the newly introduced electronic call up system of admitting trucks into the terminal

Sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) and Senator Solomon Adeola(Lagos West) and Senator Adetokunbo Abiru (Lagos East), the motion noted with great displeasure the gridlock which has persisted on access roads to Apapa Seaport in Lagos and has for many years be a source of heartache for individuals and businesses plying the road.

Leading debate on the motion, Senator Tinubu said “Senate is also aware that the gridlock has persisted due to the terrible condition of Apapa port, the concentration of Tank Farms in the area, indiscriminate parking of petroleum tankers and trailers wanting to load petroleum products from the tank farms and the racket created by persons benefiting from the chaotic situation.

“Senate is also aware that the tank farms attract thousands of trucks and tanker drivers who lift the petroleum products for onward supply to Nigerians who owing to the paucity of parking lots take up all the space on the road instead thereby causing traffic.

“The Senate is also informed that there are about 40 tank farms in the Apapa axis alone. This over-concentration is disadvantageous because one accident could be the undoing of this very important aspect of the Federal Government highway.

“The Senate is also informed that the unpalatable situation has made the area a goldmine for unscrupulous persons and operatives who have gone on to create a racket profiting off the turmoil created.

“Senate decries the poor quality of port access roads, complex ports procedures and ineffective truck call up system among other factors contributing to delays, inefficiencies and gridlock in Apapa with a huge cost to Nigeria’s economy.

“The Senate notes that this gridlock has increased the cost of doing business, encourage illegalities, and stiffen ports activities with its attendant negative impact on government’s revenue projections.

“The Senate observes that Nigerian Ports Authority recently introduced the electronic call-up system for admitting trucks into the terminal and to control the movement of trucks in and out of Lagos Seaports.

“The Senate is concerned that in spite of the well-intentioned initiative the chaotic traffic situation still lingers as tankers and trucks are still parked indiscriminately on the roads causing inconvenience to residents, commuters and business activities in the area.

“The Senate is also concerned that tankers have not been incorporated into the e-call up the system and the areas where container trucks used to be stationed has now been taken over by the tankers.

“Bothered by the seeming discord among stakeholders in the implementation of the e-call up system, NUPENG representatives have reportedly stated that the initiative is not feasible not only because alternative parking lots have not been provided, but also because as a body, NUPENG is not subject to the authority of the implementing agency in the Nigerian Ports Authority.

“The Senate is further concerned that clearing agents and truck owners along the port’s access roads at the Tincan Island Port complex accused officials of the NPA, security agents, and the police personnel who are deployed to manage traffic in the area of sabotaging the smooth operation of the newly introduced e-call up the system by colluding with community boys, touts and miscreants who disregard official e-call up tickets to extort truckers.

“Senate notes allegations by industry operators such as the National Association of Road Transport Workers that human interference in the e-call up system continues to hamper resolution of the issues and compound the problem.

“The Senate however is saddened that the current Apapa gridlock has become an embarrassment to our nation and a sore point for maritime business along the Lagos and Tincan Island Ports corridor and also saddened that this has a huge impact on the ease of doing business in Nigeria, shipping and the final cost of goods.

“Senate is however reminded being the country’s most valuable import and export gateway, and a high yielding revenue hub, Apapa port is currently raking in over N1trillion annually into Federal Government’s treasury through various taxes, levies, and tariffs.

“The Senate is equally reminded that as a stakeholder in the success of Nigeria, we must ensure viable working systems and institutions that benefit the populace”.

The Senate in its resolution further urged the Federal Ministry of Works to commence the reconstruction and repairs of all access roads to seaports, namely Apapa Creek road, Apapa Oshodi Expressway, and Tincan Island.

It directed the Committee on Marine Transport to investigate the implementation of the e-call up system and allegations of extortion by port officials and report back to the Senate on the way forward.

The Senate also mandated its Committee on Marine Transport, Works and Petroleum (Downstream) to meet the NPA, concessionaires, Nigeria Union of Petroleum Engineers, and all other stakeholders to ensure resolution of pending conflicts and ensure synergy among stakeholders.

SOURCE: INDEPENDENT


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