Stakeholders in Nigeria’s maritime industry have blamed shipping companies for the traffic chaos in Apapa port axis.
The stakeholders, who spoke at a forum on Wednesday, fingered extortion from security agencies and poor access roads as other major causes of the gridlock.
Speaking at the forum, the Deputy President of Council of Maririme Truck Unions and Associations, Stephen Okafor, fingered the absence of holding bays for empty containers as one of the causes.
“The construction by Hi-Tech is taking longer time. If that road is ready, it will go a long way in curbing traffic along the corridor. There is also the issue of insufficient transit parks along the access corridor,” he added.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Mr. Remi Ogungbemi, said the truckers needed no task force, but a conducive environment for operations.
In his submission, a member of the Logistics Practitioners of Nigeria, Godwin Ikeji, urged the Federal Government to direct shipping companies to take back their empty containers, adding that it would help decongest the port.
“Let the Nigerian government direct all shipping lines to take away from this country 3,000 TEUs. If every shipping line takes their empty containers from Nigeria, everywhere will clear up,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Emmanuel Umeadi, has accused shipping companies of using the port environment as a dumping ground for containers.
He said, “The problem we have is man-made; these shipping companies use our country as dumping ground. They are not interested in removing their containers.”
According to Umeadi, the shipping companies are using trucks as their temporary holding bays.
A representative of Nigerian Ports Authority, Dubowaiye Ayodele, urged trucks to drop their containers in a holding bay or risk sanction.
Ayodele noted that shipping companies could be denied a ship entry notice, which would stop them from bringing vessels in the country.
Responding, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, said his decision to tow errant vehicles has not changed.
His words, “Trucks that don’t have business coming into Apapa should stay off. Bridges are not built as parking lots and mechanics’ workshop. You cannot engage mechanics on the road and pour oil that will put the road in a deplorable situation.”
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