Marketers, tanker drivers, others speak on Apapa Gridlock

Tankers in Apapa
Tankers in Apapa

Marketers, tanker drivers and other road users have said the gridlock menace that usually affects operations along the Apapa ports and corridor, has largely reduced.

A statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, Friday, described the gridlock as a festering sore in the operations of the Apapa Ports, businesses in Apapa and daily commuting on the Apapa corridor

It also disclosed that the road users credited the gridlock reduction to the Nigerian Western Navy Command through a joint security task force led by one Abbah, a rear admiral, and Okon Eyo, the Commander of NNS Beecroft.

According to a tanker driver, Mallam Ibrahimat, since the Navy took over the clearing operations, there has been the deployment of an effective logistic strategy involving the use of call cards signed by the Navy commander for authentication of trucks due for loading and passage into the Apapa area, the statement showed.

He said although teething problems associated to the call card system exist due to the newness of its use by tanker drvers, the system is working and has reduced the turnaround time for loading and delivery of products.

According to the release, another tanker driver, Ahmed Issa, at a park in the Marine beach side of Apapa, said the development occurred due to the efforts of all the marketers and tanker drivers as they all obeyed the command of the naval officers who were strict with what they wanted to achieve.

He therefore urged the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to liaise with the concessionaire of a parking space that can contain thousands of trucks at once called Lillipond in order to open the park for trailers that want to load from the ports instead of allowing them to pay demurrages and also park on the roads.

The statement showed that some major marketers are seeking permission from the Navy commander to let their trucks move to the operators holding bay because trucks being on the queue is not too good since their holding bay in the area can contain more than 400 trucks.

It also disclosed that the road users, seeing themselves as partners in progress with the Navy marketers, resolved to embrace the call card system introduced by the Naval authorities and requested adjustments to take care of some unforeseen occurrences with regards to loading and delivering products around Apapa.

Aside reducing the gridlock, the statement showed that the Navy has maintained an effective cover over the Apapa area and has developed a fluid partnership with major marketers and associated unions in the downstream to ensuring a smooth passage of traffic.

The NNS BEECROFT commander, Mr Eyo, in response, said the motive behind the navy clearing gridlock was the need to provide generic and humanitarian services to the citizenry.

He attributed the success achieved in little time to the cooperation of unions, drivers and marketers in the area, who wanted the change after series of meetings held on the issue.

On the sustainability of the efforts, he said that there is no way they would allow things to go back to its old state.

He also expressed gratitude for the efforts of the Lagos State Governor, Akunwunmi Ambode, who at a town hall meeting held in Apapa said the state’s traffic body will take over the duty from the Navy in the future.

He added that the Navy’s next mission is to move to the Tin Can part of the area but noted that the resources available are thin due to personnel constraints as his men cannot cope with covering the Apapa Port area and the Tin-Can Port area.

Aside from personnel issues, he also cited logistics as another challenge and therefore called other stakeholders to render their assistance so that the whole of Apapa area can be rid of persistent gridlocks.

On Thursday the Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said his ministry is working to finalise the procurement and award of the Apapa, Tin Can, Mile 2, Oshodi to Oworonshoki Highway.

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