Naijauto.com could not really agree or disagree with the Nigerian Ports Authority’s Managing Director Hadiza Bala Usman who recently spoke about why the Apapa gridlock will continue.
1. Inadequate trailer parks led to Apapa gridlock
She claimed that the traffic congestion and truck queues in Apapa won’t reduce until more effort has been put forward by the relevant authorities in providing adequate trailer parks around the area. She made this view known on a recent radio programme in Lagos State.
Hadiza Bala Usman really expressed her displeasure over the Tin Can Island’s trailer park delayed commissioning. The project is currently 10 years since the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing has taken over the project till date.
Hadiza Bala Usman, current Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority
During the program, she expressed her opinions and views a lot and below are some of her comments;
“I want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing to conclude the trailer park inside Tin Can Island. There is a trailer park there that the Ministry of Works has been constructing for the past ten years.
“I have held discussions with the Ministry since I assumed office two and half years ago and made a request that they should hand over that trailer park to the Nigerian Ports Authority so that we can conclude the shore protection and have it ready since December 2017 yet we are still here, it has not been finished, it has not been handed over. The traffic situation in Apapa will not reduce unless there is a concerted effort in providing trailer parks.”
“The gridlock in Apapa has been lingering for too long. The Nigerian port in the last three weeks withdrew the lease for Lilypond as a terminal and converted it into a trailer park. I would also call on the Lagos and Ogun State governments to look at land allocations and cancel them for overriding public interest and make them trailer parks outside of the port environment where those trailers can sit."
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2. Hadiza Bala Usman's suggestions to reduce Apapa gridlocks
Hadiza Bala Usman stressed the need to have trailer parks and holding bays for trucks to enable authorities to manage the traffic. She faulted the present situation where all trailers do not have designated parks. According to her, such parks must span across state and local government designated locations for trailers to park. NPA intends to now have call-up systems that will be deployed in these trailer parks.
“Lilypond is a transit park into the port but we need to have a large size trailer park that will house the trailers on the roads. It is a big challenge that we have and we will continue to see what we can do to decongest the bridges to ensure seamless inflow and outflow,” she stated.
“One of the concerns we have is that when cargo comes into the port, we do a physical examination. There is an absence of scanners at the port and the Customs have not deployed the scanners that are required.
Apapa traffic gridlock continues to be a menace for commuters
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Hadiza Bala Usman then remarked on the need for the additional tool for trade facilitation in the guise of the single window. This is an initiative that ports in neighbouring countries have utilized, enabling cargo clearance in a fast and seamless manner. A single window deployment allows agencies to key in there.
“No agency is supposed to stop any cargo once they have done examination inside the port but we have seen where Customs insist on having another examination outside the port. These are some of the challenges we are facing on the ease of doing business,” she finished.
Can this Apapa Gridlock problem really be solved? We'll all have to wait and see Governor Sanwo-Olu's efforts during his regime.