- Insist on restriction of tankers, trailers, trucks in state
After ordering all articulated vehicles to stay away from the state, the Lagos State Government and other stakeholders have agreed to a 14-point resolution to restore order and sanity to Apapa where the nation’s busiest seaports and oil depots are all located.
The stakeholders comprising the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Nigeria Police Force and terminal operators, among others, have resolved that all tankers, trailers and trucks should remain in truck terminals outside the state.
The decision was contained in a communiqué THISDAY obtained Wednesday after a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Apapa Local Government Secretariat to end the perennial traffic congestion in Apapa Central Business District and its environs.
The meeting was convened at the instance of the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to work out a lasting solution to the perennial traffic congestion caused by truckers within Apapa.
At a news conference a fortnight ago, the state government had ordered all trailers, trucks and oil tankers to stay off all roads within the state after a week-long outright blockade of all access roads to Apapa and the intractable gridlock resulting from it.
Consequently, it directed the operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, among others, to deny all articulated vehicles access to the state.
In a communiqué after the meeting, the stakeholders lamented that the perennial traffic congestion caused by truckers within Apapa ports and its environs was a major concern as many lives had been lost and businesses paralysed.
In order to find a lasting solution to the menace, the state government called for a stakeholders’ meeting involving government agencies, port regulators, truck owners’ associations, terminal operators, clearing agents and other stakeholders.
After an exhaustive session and inspection of facilities at the terminals, the stakeholders agreed that the NPA, NSC and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), being the regulatory bodies, would enforce the use of holding bays as a pre-requisite for the shipping companies.
The stakeholders equally agreed that only consolidated shipping companies would henceforth be allowed to bring empty containers from the holding bays into the ports.
They also agreed that the shipping companies “must write and get approvals in advance from the NPA and port managers at Apapa and Tin-can Ports, respectively, for the number of containers expected into the port on a daily basis”.
“The NPA is mandated to inform the cargo owners to liaise with the shipping companies on the return of the empty containers which must be enforced. Henceforth, Equipment Interchange Report (EIR) must indicate the destination point for the return of empty containers and must be enforced by the terminal operator,” the communiqué said.
The stakeholders agreed that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) must be operational on a 24-hour basis within the port premises, regardless of public holidays, which they said would help improve the ease of doing business in Apapa and its environs.
They further agreed that truck barriers should be erected at the entrance and exit of identified inner roads within Apapa axis, stressing that all articulated vehicles – tankers, trailers and trucks – would be restricted to truck terminals in Ogun State.
They agreed that the restricted movement of the trucks outside Lagos State “will be closely monitored and enforced by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), law enforcement committee and other stakeholders”.
The stakeholders agreed to set up an enforcement committee at all entry point into Lagos State, which they said would regulate the activities of the truckers within the Apapa metropolis.
The stakeholders directed the authorities of the LASEMA Rescue Unit and Apapa Local Government Authority “to collaborate in securing an operational base for the operation of LASEMA in Apapa”.