A federal lawmaker representing Yagba-East/Yagba-West/Mopamuro Federal Constituency of Kogi State, Mr Leke Abejide has called for the sacking of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) from port gates, saying that since the ports have been concessioned, the authority has no business being at the port gate.
Abejide, at a press conference in Abuja on Monday said terminal operators should be allowed to control access into the port, adding that this would further ease the traffic gridlock in Apapa.
The lawmaker attributed the gridlock at the ports to lack of automation of port access, especially at APM Terminals at Apapa port, TICT at Tin Can Island Port, and WACT at Onne Port.
He said, “I have a different view of the solution currently used to address the current gridlock at the Apapa and Tin Can (Island Port). I have suggested this to the House, before the House’s standing committee was constituted.
“AP Moller Terminals/TICT/WACT must automate their Terminal Delivery Order, which will be connected to their gate of entry and exit. What this means is that once you have TDO to load, there is no need for any human contact along the road or at the gate for such a truck to go in and load.
“It should be a constant movement for trucks with valid tickets uninterrupted. Once the truck driver gets to the gate, he only needs to place the ticket at the gate and it automatically opens for entry. Any truck without a valid ticket (TDO) has no reason to even come near the port area after discharging its empty containers at Shipping Line Empty Containers Bay, which is 100km away from the port.
“Finally, my appeal to the Federal Government is to give priority to road constructions, especially those within the ports, and to be handled by tested construction companies as Julius Berger to handle Creek Road linking Tin Can Island, with a mandate to deliver within two months to avoid the trauma that port users pass through on the road where the nation earns its second-largest revenue.
“NPA has no business doing at the gate called First Gate at Apapa. If the port is under concession, they should allow the concessionaire to take charge and also automate the gate for uninterrupted movement of trucks in and out of Apapa Port.”
According to Abejide, most of the shipping lines – if not all – are owned and operated by foreigners and “this makes it for them to care less about the agony Nigerians are passing through.”
He said, “It is about four years and four months that Apapa Port turned into a nightmare as a result of the gridlock firstly caused by MAERSKLINE/APMT system hacking.
I want to tell you that if there is a breakdown in the entry and exit of Iaden tucks for just a minute, the kind of gridlock that will arise will be unprecedented, not to talk of their system that went down for almost six weeks or more. You can guess what the situation would be like. It would be chaotic as it is now at Apapa.
“As a result of this, more vessels arrived while the previously discharged containers could not be moved out due to APMT/MAERSK system breakdown container to pile up and up.”