June 18, 2012 – Congestion is said to be looming at Apapa Port as a result of the new directive by the Presidential Committee on Ports Reforms that empty containers should no longer be received at the port during the day.
With this directive, it was learnt that truck owners have pitched their tent against the committee led by the Special Adviser to the President on Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Prof. Sylvester Monye.
Although the directive was aimed at ensuring the decongestion of the Lagos ports access roads in Apapa, it backfired by creating confusion and a looming congestion especially at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa.
It was alleged that the committee’s directive was implemented only at the LPC, as trucks continued to bring in empty containers during the day to the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIP),
The Presidential Committee recently directed that all empty containers must be moved to bonded terminals by shipping companies and to be brought into the ports in Lagos only at night.
Maritime watchers said that since the directive, Apapa Port has remained deserted during the day, while the facilities are being overstretched at night, whereas the reverse had always been the case at Tin- Can port that continues to receive empty containers during the day.
“This is dangerous and is an invitation to serious congestion at the Apapa Port,” a top management staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who did not want her name in print, said recently.
“Ideally what should happen is that they should allow empty containers into the port at any time of the day so long as the trucks don’t park on the road.
“It is not profitable for the trucks to do one transaction per trip. Truck operation is more efficient if the truckers do two transactions per trip; that is they bring in an empty container and take out a laden container. But if you say they should come in with their chassis bare, then you won’t see them at all.
“In that case, they will prefer to stay till late in the night when they are allowed to bring in empties and then take out a laden container. But the danger with that is that the terminal will be idle during the day and have a deluge of activities at night it might not be able to cope with,” she said.