Apapa gridlock: Truck operators call for  port automation, want transit parks


By Seun Ibiyemi

In a bid to end the menace of gridlock at the Lagos port, truck operators have called for port automation, provision of transit parks and effective regulation by relevant authorities for the operation of trucks at the Lagos ports.

President, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi said in a chat with Nigerian NewsDirect that the only thing that has not improved in the maritime sector is road network into the port.

Ogungbemi said the only  step for now is the uncompleted Ijora to Apapa road embarked upon by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Flour Mills and Dangote.

He noted that despite the increase in handling of cargoes, the road infrastructure remains stagnant.

According to him, “For us to have a free conducive environment, and orderliness at the port, it is for us to have a good road network that will correspond with all the increase of trucks going into Apapa.”

He also said that there is need for track operators to move away from analog to digital which will use automation system to regulate the movement of trucks that are coming into the port.

Ogungbemi said that there was provision for transit parks in the port master plan which was tampered with by authorities.

“The trucks have no place to park before entering the port and no mechanism for regulation.

“There is need for a mechanism that will regulate the movement of these trucks so that all the trucks will not just be coming at the same time,” he said.

Ogungbemi said that there was provision for transit parks in the port master plan which was tampered with by authorities.

“But for reasons best known to those in authority, they removed transit parks from the original plan and use those places for other business activities.

“Since government has chased trucks from its original parking places, that is why you see trucks all over the place.

“It is not even in the interest of the truck owners or the drivers to be parking on the road. Parking on the road and bridges is an aberration.

“It could reduce the lifespan of the bridges and even the roads; drivers are not happy being in the road that is the truth,” he added.

According to him, drivers suffer a lot being on the road for several days without sleeping, refreshing and eating.

Ogungbemi noted that such agonies affected the behavioural attitude of truck drivers, called on the government to regulate and automate movement of trucks to the ports.

He said this would prevent trucks from coming at the same time to the port, adding that the current system which allowed closer trucks to access port indiscriminately was not the best.

“Truck owners don’t possess land. Going by the Land Use Decree, land ownership is vested in the state. No individual, group and association has power over land.

“On our own, we identified a place four years ago which the state government gave us provisional approval.

“We had started work on this piece of land with sand filling at a time but the government changed its mind after we had committed millions of naira to the place,” he said

The perennial gridlock in Apapa and its environs has remained major headache to government, motorists, commuters and residents.


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