The Management of APM Terminals has said that it is not responsible for controlling traffic in Apapa and hence cannot be held liable for the gridlock in the area.
The company in a statement signed by its General Manager Communications, Augustine Fischer, stressed that like other stakeholders, it is a victim of the menacing Apapa gridlock.
Speaking against the background of a 14-day ultimatum issued by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) asking it to rid the port access road of trucks bearing empty containers, APM Terminals said it neither controls traffic on the roads nor owns the trucks or empty containers on the road.
APM Terminals said its employees, service providers, contractors and customers have to go through the harrowing traffic experience every day, like every other person.
The company said: â€œWe are aware APM Terminals is being accused as the cause of the traffic gridlock in the Apapa area and we would like to set the record straight. APM Terminals Apapa is as much of a victim of the traffic gridlock as everyone else. Our employees, service providers, contractors and customers have to go through the harrowing traffic experience every day.
â€œThese employees are the ones that operate the equipment that service the trucks and would not by any means delay or stop servicing trucks unnecessarily as it would equate to â€˜shooting ourselves in the foot.â€
Several stakeholders have blamed the traffic gridlock on bad roads, poor traffic management, lack of truck parks and the lack of holding bays for empty containers by shipping companies.
Following the chaotic situation caused by empty containers blocking intra and inter-city roads in Apapa, maritime workers in the country had given a 14-day ultimatum to APM Terminal to clear the roads of its empty containers.
In a letter addressed to the Managing Director of the Company signed by the Deputy Secretary General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Edwin Sambo, the union said the blocking of the roads with empty containers had caused untold hardship to maritime workers and Nigerians.
According to MWUN, â€œWe are deeply concerned and seriously disturbed by the blockage of the Apapa Port Access road with empty containers in the quest for delivery at your terminal. The situation renders movement inside and outside the Port impassable with traffic always at a standstill. Economic and social activities within the area are also negatively affected with business at its lowest ebb.
â€œThe security of lives and properties in and around the environment has deteriorated so much so that rape and brigandage have become the order of the day. Workers, Port users and the public in general trek long distance for hours before accessing the Port and their work place. It has compounded or worsened the already existing Apapa gridlock which the Lagos State and Federal Agencies are still battling to contain.â€
The blockage, they stated, also impedes the executive order issued by the federal government on the ease of doing business at the nationâ€™s seaports.
They added: â€œConsequently, your management is hereby given a 14 day Notice of Ultimatum from the date of this letter to put all necessary arrangement in motion to ensure that the blockage caused by the empty containers are totally cleared at the end of this notice for business and other port related activities to resume at the Port. Please be informed that we shall not be held liable for whatever action we might deem fit to take in the event of your refusal to get off the road your empty containers.â€