The Lagos State Government has said the Apapa gridlock has eased considerably and urged terminal operators to support the interventions set in place to end the gridlock in Apapa and its environs.
The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, disclosed this in a statement after an operation review Meeting with terminal operators in the Tin Can Island ports at Apapa.
Mr Fayinka, who doubles as the Chairman, Traffic Management Enforcement Team, declared that the meeting was a continuation of efforts to enlist the support of all the critical stakeholders in the ports at Apapa.
Mr Fayinka noted that traffic in and out of Apapa and its environs has improved drastically, saying “If you come in through Eko bridge, Ijora, Sifax or Iganmu, the road is free. The only problem we are having now is from Area B to the Port.’’
“We have actually met with Shippers Council and they told us they are ready.
“We have agreed that the next meeting will be to engage the Shippers Council, the truckers, the terminal operators, Nigerian Ports Authority and every other Stakeholder, so we can listen to their challenges.
“This is because we will want the Shippers Council to be up and doing in the evacuation of empty containers. It is their responsibility to remove empty containers from blocking the roads,” he disclosed.
The Chairman of Apapa Local Government Area, Elijah Adele, charged terminal operators on the need to support the e-call up system.
Mr Adele noted that the time for making excuses is over, saying that everyone must cooperate with the State Government on Apapa gridlock intervention.
“The traffic situation has to be drastically reduced so that your businesses can thrive.
“When the road is free, the truckers turnover will be high. Traffic causes health, security, environmental and other societal problems. I’m begging us, let’s make this work,” Mr Adele said.
Also at the event, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Central Business District, Sola Giwa, urged the terminal operators to automate their operations and sync up effectively with the Electronic Call Up System (ETO) system designed to sequence and batch trucks coming into the ports.
Mr Giwa also revealed that truckers had expressed frustrations at some of the actions of the Holding Bay operators, adding that 48 hours evacuation would be executed at Tincan just as it was done at Apapa Ports which was effective.
In her response, Vicky Hastrup, Chairman Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), said the existence of Petroleum Tank Farms within Apapa area was the beginning of the traffic woes of the area.
Ms Hastrup asked the state government to engage the federal government and relocate the tank farms as the state was sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
In agreement to the outcome of the meeting, the terminal operators promised the state government that they would not constitute encumbrance to the current intervention set in place to end the traffic gridlock in Apapa and its environs.
Mr Fayinka, however, further advised Tincan Port Operators to blow the whistle on sharp practices being executed by members of staff and other officials connected to the entire process.