Over the past couple of weeks, stakeholders have expressed concern over the state of access roads to the Lagos Port Complex in Apapa.
The dilapidated state of the road, which has gone on for almost two decades has become a thing of concern to everyone transacting business in the Apapa area of Lagos including the Authority, whose prime facilities are located in this axis.
This accounts for the Authority’s decision to collaborate with other stakeholders who agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing to reconstruct the entire Wharf Road. These stakeholders include The Nigerian Ports Authority, Dangote Group and Flour Mills plc.
Although the repair of roads is not the statutory responsibility of the Authority, it has committed the sum of N1.8b to the reconstruction of the Wharf Road and contractors from Messers AG Dangote Construction Company, were mobilized to site in July 2017.
As a result of this, the stretch of road for the outbound lane (Ijora Bridge-Barracks Junction) has been condoned off as work has commenced.
In anticipation of the congestion that the current reconstruction was bound to cause, the Managing Director of the NPA Ms Hadiza Bala Usman had set up a committee then chaired by the General Manager, Western Ports on the decongestion of Port access roads.
This committee included representatives of the Lagos State government, the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Ports Police Command, and Department of State Security Services and other major stakeholders including truckers as mainly represented by the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO)
To further alleviate the envisaged congestion, the Authority awarded the contract for palliative works on Creek Road to Messers CGC Nigeria Limited.
Palliative works was carried out on the damaged portion of the roadway and is now designated an alternative route in and out of the Lagos Port Complex. Further repair works were equally carried out on other alternative routes around the corridor
In addition, realising the need for a bleeder route to relieve pressure on Wharf road during construction, the GM of the NPA Western Zone heads a committee of all Terminal Operators, Millers and other stakeholders which worked to fashion out ways of fixing the Tin Can axis route with enduring palliatives works while the wharf road construction is ongoing.
A major achievement of the committee is the identification and location of a number of privately owned sites suitable to accommodate a minimum of 6,000 trucks at any particular time. To ensure that this initiative does not run into any institutional impediments, the committee engaged with land owners in the area and has established contacts with the Lagos State Government.
The Authority is also exploring the feasibility of deploying multimodal cargo haulage around the Apapa axis. To this end, talks are on with the Nigeria Railway Corporation to encourage movement of cargo by rail to and from Apapa Ports and increase the frequency of evacuation since one train movement is equal to about 70 truck movements. The Authority has also gotten approval for the movement of cargo by barges over water as alternative to road transportation. The Authority is therefore, not just to working towards reducing congestion, but to also ensure that less pressure is put on the roads by enhancing opportunities to use other modes of transportation.
The Authority is aware of the current situation on the access roads and assures all users of the ports that everything possible is being done to alleviate the situation.
The NPA is grateful to all stakeholders for their cooperation and patience pending the completion of construction works on the road and assures of its readiness to discuss with stakeholders on further ways to lighten the burden on road users.