The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman has restated the Authorityâ€™s commitment to improving the port access roads.
Over the past couple of weeks, stakeholders have expressed concern over the state of access roads to the Lagos Port Complex in Apapa.
The dilapidated state of the road since almost two decades has been a source of concern to stakeholders including the NPA, whose prime facilities are located in that axis.
The NPA said in a statement that the poor state of the roads informed its decision to collaborate with other stakeholders who agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing to reconstruct the entire Wharf Road.
These stakeholders, the NPA added, include Dangote Group and Flour Mills plc.
It added that although repair of roads is not its statutory responsibility, it has committed the sum of N1.8 billion to the reconstruction of the Wharf Road, adding that contractors from Messers AG Dangote Construction Company were mobilised to site in July 2017.
â€œIn anticipation of the congestion that the current reconstruction was bound to cause, the NPA had set up a committee then chaired by the General Manager, Western Ports on the decongestion of Port access roads.
â€œThe committee included representatives of the Lagos State government, the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Ports Police Command, and Department of State Services and other major stakeholders including truckers as mainly represented by the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO)
â€œTo further alleviate the envisaged congestion, the Authority awarded the contract for palliative works on Creek Road to Messers CGC Nigeria Limited. Palliative works was carried out on the damaged portion of the roadway and is now designated an alternative route in and out of the Lagos Port Complex. Further repair works were equally carried out on other alternative routes around the corridor, â€œit stated.
It added: â€In addition, realising the need for a bleeder route to relieve pressure on Wharf Road during construction, the GM of the NPA Western Zone heads a committee of all Terminal Operators, Millers and other stakeholders which worked to fashion out ways of fixing the Tin Can axis route with enduring palliatives works while the wharf road construction is ongoing.
A major achievement of the committee is the identification and location of a number of privately owned sites suitable to accommodate a minimum of 6,000 trucks at any particular time. To ensure that this initiative does not run into any institutional impediments, the committee engaged with land owners in the area and has established contacts with the Lagos State Government.â€
The NPA also disclosed that it is also exploring the feasibility of deploying multimodal cargo haulage around the Apapa axis.
To this end, it disclosed that talks are on with the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to encourage movement of cargo by rail to and from Apapa Ports and increase the frequency of evacuation since one train movement is equal to about 70 truck movements.
The NPA said it has also gotten approval for the movement of cargo by barges over water as alternative to road transportation.
â€œThe Authority is therefore, not just to working towards reducing congestion, but to also ensure that less pressure is put on the roads by enhancing opportunities to use other modes of transportation. The Authority is aware of the current situation on the access roads and assures all users of the ports that everything possible is being done to alleviate the situation.
â€œThe NPA is grateful to all stakeholders for their cooperation and patience pending the completion of construction works on the road and assures of its readiness to discuss with stakeholders on further ways to lighten the burden on road users, â€œit stated.