The deteriorating state of the port access roads to the nation’s seaports has drawn the ire of stakeholders in the maritime industry.
Though virtually all the ports access roads are in very deplorable condition, the ones leading to Africa’s largest container port, Apapa Quay and Nigeria’s second busiest port, Tin Can Island Port Complex (TCIP), Apapa, Lagos remain the worst with container laden trucks falling off and in the process, stuffing life out of several port users virtually every day.
In the last three weeks access to Lagos Port Complex, Apapa and TCIP has become a nightmare as the potholes have turned to craters making it impossible for port users to enter or exit the terminals without any ugly incident.
It is not uncommon to find container laden trucks in the middle of the port access roads as motorists get trap besides articulated vehicles in Apapa and its environs.
Already, some sections of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway have been abandoned as the access to some port terminals becomes totally inaccessible.
Those who spoke to THISDAY wondered what the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman and her management team are doing to ameliorate the poor state of the port access roads.
A Lagos base importer, Mr. Abel Nwachukwute who spoke to THISDAY earlier in the week decried a situation where the management of NPA continue to make public statements that have no bearing on the true state of things in the ports.
“While waiting for the award of mega contracts to rehabilitate the roads at least the NPA boss ought to have embark on palliatives measures to salvage the situation. How much will it cost NPA to procure hard core or gravel and drop on those very bad spots such as the ones at Airways and Liverpool? At least, that will go a long way to ameliorate the poor state of things on the roads leading to the port. To say the least, the gateway to the port is an eyesore. Yet Usman and her team are laid back waiting for the conclusion of the long bureaucratic processes before they will rise to the challenge of addressing the poor condition of the port access roads”, he fumed.
National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu recently flayed the Minister of Transportation, Right Hon.Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, for his failure to improve on the fortunes of the maritime industry and for the deteriorating state of the port access roads since his appointment by President Mohammadu Buhari last year.
According to him, going by deplorable state of the roads leading to the ports, Amaechi has abandoned the maritime industry as he has not done anything tangible to tackle headlong the numerous challenges facing the sector since he was appointed the Minister of Transportation. We cannot continue like this. If they are bereft of ideas of how to move the maritime industry forward, they should seek for help or resign.