Indigenous conglomerate; SIFAX Group on Wednesday opened a 15,000 square meter container terminal at the Ijora Causeway in Apapa Lagos in order to ease the traffic gridlock experienced at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Port.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Group Executive Vice Chairman of Sifax Group, Dr Taiwo Afolabi described the terminal as a response to a major concern in the maritime sector, especially at the Lagos ports.
Afolabi who was represented by the Group Managing Director of the Group, Mr Adelunle Oyinloye said that the logistics nightmare in Apapa occasioned by the traffic congestion experienced by port users compelled the company to look for a creative solution to address the problem.
According to Afolabi, the terminal which is located along the Ebute Metta Creek holds a number of opportunities for shippers, agents and consignees as their consignments can be transferred through barge from any of the ports (Apapa and Tin Can) to the facility without the challenge of traffic congestion.
“The good road network around Ijora and its easier access to every part of Lagos make this terminal the one to beat in terms of faster and efficient cargo clearance”
“Another key advantage of the terminal is that it will be IT-driven. The company has invested in modern technology to drive the business to the satisfaction of the clients”
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to all our stakeholders – regulatory agencies, shippers, agents, consignees and members of the press to partner with the company in a bid to make the vision of this terminal a reality – an efficient and well-run inland container depot that puts the clients at the core of its business” he said
In his business presentation, Managing Director of the new terminal, Mr Van Linden said the commissioning of the 15,000 square meters is the first phase, assuring that the second phase would also be commissioned as soon as business progresses.
He said “This is the first phase of the opening that is being done today. We are talking about roughly 15,000 square meters in this first phase, we are hosting here the Nigeria Customs, our own staff as well as all external agencies, we have a church, a mosque, we have a canteens a clinic, it is all on ground”
“By the time the second phase opens, the real game would start, we start to barge from the mother port to this terminal which is what everybody is looking for”
“We all know the situation in Apapa, Tin Can ports, there is a long delay in getting containers out of there and delivered to the customers which costs money. With this terminal, transport time would reduce, and there would be saving of cost for customers” he said
Linden assured that the terminal would also assist export trade in Nigeria by sending exports out of the terminal, saying that the outside world is complaining about quality of commodities out of Nigeria.
He lamented that the long queues and delays associated with export cargoes at the mother ports and the attendant perishing of produce is giving Nigeria a bad image on international level.
Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman was represented by the Executive Director Marine and Operations, Mr Onari Brown, commended SIFAX Group for its solution-driven mindset and aggressiveness in pursuing the dream of getting the terminal ready for operations in record time.
She promised the support and cooperation of the agency in realizing the vision of the new business.
Hadiza described SIFAX Group as the most serious and dedicated terminal operators in Nigerian saying that the proactive nature of the concessionaire has paved the way for more business opportunities
The Apapa Area Controller of Nigeria Customs Service, Mr Abba Kura commended Sifax Group on the laudable feat, even as he charged other terminal operators to borrow a cue from Sifax Group to also come up with similar investments along the Lagoa coastline.
On her part, Princess Vicky Haastrup, Executive Vice Chairman, ENL Consortium and Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) lauded SIFAX Group for always being at the forefront of innovations in the country’s maritime sector.
High ranking dignitaries such as Oba Fatai Oyeyinka, Ojora of Ijora land; Hakeem Odumosu, Commissioner of Police, Lagos; Adewale Adeyanju, President General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) were at the commissioning.
Others include, Chairman , Apapa Local Government, Mr. Elisha , Vice President ANLCA Kayode Farinto, Folake George and Remi Ogungbemi from the maritime truck haulage groups.