Apapa road crisis killing haulage business, port industry growth –CFTAN President
By Udeme Clement
The National President, Corporate Fleet Truck Association of Nigeria, CFTAN, Mrs. Folake George, has called on the Federal Government and agencies concerned to fix the ports access road as a matter of urgency, in order to prevent total collapse of haulage business and commercial activities in the ports.
The CFTAN President said this in a media parley with Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria, MAJAN, in Lagos.
Mrs. George expressed total displeasure on the bad condition of Apapa ports access road resulting in loss of man-hours, even death of truck drivers due to traffic gridlock making movement of trucks on the road almost impossible.
She said, “The worsening condition of the ports access road is taking its toll on our business, even as it is equally affecting the growth of port industry in Nigeria, as well as commercial activities within Apapa area. For instance, many businesses round Apapa-Oshodi road have closed shop due to traffic logjam”.
She went on, “Now some people are complaining that we charge higher on delivery of containers to bonded terminals. The reality is that the problem is not with the transporters. Before this ports access road crisis, we used to charge N60.000 from Apapa ports to other terminals for containers delivery. Now the amount has increased to about N350.000 because the trucks would stay on the roads for months just to delivery containers from the ports”.
She pointed out, “This is the reason we are telling shipping companies that charges for returning empty containers must be suspended. The roads are so bad, containers and trailers are all over Apapa, extending to Surulere, Maryland and other areas of Lagos.
“There are many challenging facing haulage business in Lagos, but let government fix Apapa road urgently. Once the ports access road is in good shape, part of the problem would have been solved”.
In the same vein, the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, Dry Cargo, Alhaji Inuwa Abdullahi, disclosed that NARTO has lost up to 10 drivers to Apapa road crisis.
According to him, “At present, the situation is really bad because there is no proper arrangement in place for empty containers holding bays by shipping companies outside the seaport”.
He stressed, “Before now there was a team of task-force that managed the traffic at Apapa road, but before we knew it, that arrangement was compromised and the situation deteriorated to what we are facing today.”