By Stephen Ubanna
Worried by the persistent gridlock along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, have acquired two. multi-million naira trailer parks One of the trailer parks located at Tin can Island port second gate was wholly constructed by the Authority for the purpose a couple of years ago but put under
As a prelude to the opening of the parks for the purpose to which it was established and to ensure proper use of the facility by truckers taking Containerised cargoes for exports and empty Containers into the port to the terminals for shipment to the Shipping lines operational base in Europe, North America and Asia , without causing much problem to other port users, Hajia. Hadiza Bala Usman, the Authority Managing Director, was said to have informed
Truckers who think that it would be a dumping ground to keep their broken down trucks would be disappointed. hajia Usman, was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen that there would room for truckers to keep their broken down trucks at the parks. The NPA boss was said to sent a warning signal to the importers with their agents that broken down truck found in any of the parks would be towed away and the owner made to pay a penalty.
This is bad news for truckers who may have had at the back of their mind that they
Maritime watchers describe it as a good control measure by NPA, to forestall abuse. It could not be ascertained whether the facility would be Concessioned to private operators to force the truck owners to pay for use of the facility or under the control of the Authority, as it is still a closely guided secret by NPA, management.
Recall that Sokonte Davies, the Authority’s Executive Director, Marine and Operations, who broke the cheery news about the planned opening of the two truck parks at a recent parley between the Management and the maritime Stakeholders in Lagos as part of plans to enhance effective port operations and improved service delivery across the board said the” Organisation could no longer fold its arms and allow a complete breakdown of the system that is giving the government billions of naira annually from imports and exports of non oil cargoes.
Sokonte , who was said to have represented , Hajia Usman at the stakeholders meeting, may have put smiles on the face of the participants who were waiting to hear from him,the Authority’s next line of action in solving the Oshodi- Apapa -gridlock when hen he declared that the government Agency have taken the bull by the horn to proffer a ”permanent solution to the menace in view of the role the sector plays in the” sustenance of the nation’s economy”.
Many believe that the Authority may have been forced to go back to the drawing board to find a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock with the recent official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos state to Commission some projects executed by the out-going Akinwumi Ambode Administration. The President was may have given a matching order to Raji Babatunde Fashola, the minister of Works, Power and Housing , and incidentally , a former governor of the state, who has a graphic display of the grid lock in his mindset and the NPA boss, to quickly put on their thinking cap to find a permanent solution to the problem without further delay.
Fashola and Hajia Usman, may have known that the intervention of the President was an indication that the era of lies of works being done on the road is over. This is because the President has a way of getting reports on the level of work done on the projects being executed by his Administration. Presidency sources told The Value News that the Katsina state born Nigeria President has secret informants unknown to the ministers and Heads of Parastatals who give him reports on the state of projects being undertaken by the Administration or any of the government agencies. it is not surprising why the President has at his finger tips what is happening at the ministries and Agencies .
this may have informed why the minister and the NPA helmsman,took the Presidential directive, serious to Fix the road which had remained an embarrassment to the government because of the ease at which truck laden Containers fall daily, thus aggravating the traffic situation on the busy Oshodi-Apapa Express Way.When The Value News visited the area on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, there were heap of sand on the road, an indication that the Contractor was ready to commence work.
Perhaps, to ensure that the lawless truck drivers did not scatter the tipped sands on the road for the construction work, that part of the road was said to have been closed for traffic and could only be opened, according to an NPA , source, after the Completion of project . Agents, who spoke to the Magazine disclosed that truckers would have no reason to park on the bridge with the opening of the truck parks for use and the rehabilitation of Oshodi-Apapa Express Way ,to facilitate free flow of vehicular movement to the seaports.
there are indications that the government agency has set up Task Force to ensure that ”trucks are allowed to park on the bridges any longer. but the Maritime Stakeholders would want to be part of the Task Force. According to Adams Jato, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, the Task Force, has a mandate to remove any truck laden Container or broken down truck found on the bride or or seen to be causing obstruction on the road. This is bad news for truckers who prefer to park on the bridge until when they are ready they enter into the port with their Containerised cargo for export or empty Container for shipment to the Shipping line operational base in Europe, North America or Asia, particular China and India.
Jato, the Authority Spokes Person maintained that it would be an offence for any trucker to park on the bridge as t as the security agencies have been given the go-ahead to” remove any unwanted trucks milling around the port environment , found to be causing obstructions to vehicular movements a. The NPA Management was said to have enjoined the Lagos state Traffic officials and the police to ensure that that the ”Tincan Island -Mile 2 corridor axis is open for optimal traffic” and port management , to reduce to cureent traffic situation on the busy Oshodi-Apapa road. The Lagos Traffic officials and the Police , may have kept to the instructions but the traffic situation had not shown any sign of reducing for now.
Given an insider information, the NPA Spokes Person, said they have also directed the terminal operators and the shipping lines to ”synergise their operations to ensure a success of the call up system ”. The terminal operators and the Shipping lines , were said to have given their words to support the Authority’s efforts to solve the gridlock problem along the Oshodi- Apapa Express Way. Insiders told The Value News that the operators have statrted holding Consultations on areas of cooperation in their operations to forestall the return of the gridlock on the busy road with the measures put in place.
Appreciative of the efforts put in place by Hajia Usman, the NPA , Chief Executive Officer, Dakuku Peterside, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, who was said to to have been represented at the Stakeholders forum by Mrs. Anna James Akpan, believes that ”if the call up system could be effectively implemented, it would go a long way to facilitate the free flow of traffic at the port and increase the Authority revenue generation as more ships would would the seaports with cargos to discharge and load for export as well carry their empty Containers and go back without much ados. Peterside,