The federal government has announced the suspension of more approvals for tank farms in Apapa, Lagos, as part of plans to de-congest the axis.
The managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, made this known on Tuesday after a government-private sector meeting on how to resolve the Apapa traffic gridlock.
Usman further disclosed that all empty containers will be taken to holding bay as part of the new measures.
Her words: “We have noted that there is a need to move empty containers out of that location.”
“So we have received clear directives that all empty containers need to be taken to holding bay. Shipping companies cannot have port locations within the ports any more, so that will free a lot of traffic within the area.
“We have also noted the need for all tank farm owners to comply with the utilisation of holding bays. No more approvals of tank farms will be permitted within the Apapa area any longer.
“There is also full commitment of Dangote to complete the reconstruction of Apapa Wharf Road by June 2018, but palliative works will commence within the immediate period for Tin Can Island.
“There is a decisive effort by the vice-president giving clear directives on the need for us to conclude on reconstruction, the trailer park on Tin Can Island will also be reconstructed within three months, so that we can have access to holding bays and trailer parks.
“The NPA is also licensing access to the trailer parks and port allocations. We are issuing advertisements seeking for expression of interest of fro the private sector to operate some trailer parks and holding bays within the Tin Can Island area.
“We are embarking on that within the shortest period and we appeal to the exporters to work with us in traffic management, we are instituting strong task force that will manage the traffic inflow and outflow within the Apapa and Tin Can Island environ.
“This is an emergency for us and that is why we are here today to address these issues. We have seen the commitment from the Ministry of Works and the NPA will give support in anyway we can.”
The Federal Government also said it is losing over N10 billion daily to the Apapa Wharf gridlock.
President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, disclosed this at the end of the same meeting, which was presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Dangote also disclosed to State House Correspondents that reconstruction will start on the Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway by next week.
“Apapa-Oworoshoki Way is going to start next week. Everything, including the design, have been handed over. We will start work next week.
“The bidding process is going to go on where four, five contractors will bid. Anyone who wins the contract, we will fund the project under the agreement that we have,” the business mogul said. Upon completion, Dangote said the federal government would save a lot of money as against the current loss of over N10 billion daily.
“You have to understand that Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports handle about 80 percent of cargoes that come into Nigeria. As we speak, some of our ships are waiting to come in from Lome and discharge. It is not because we don’t have anywhere to berth the ship but because all our operations are choked up, because we have containers, general cargoes that have actually been there and we are not able to remove.
“But, I am more worried about the smaller operators because for those that have imported, the charges are accumulating everyday. Transport charge has almost doubled.”