In a bid to find a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has concluded plan to implement call-up system for trucks entering the ports for goods delivery from August this year.
For the call-up system to be effective, THISDAY learnt that officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) may vacate the Lilypond terminal for the facility to be converted to a park for trucks.
The Lilypond terminal based in Ijora Lagos is a dry port with a full-fledged command of customs and other security agencies.
THISDAY checks revealed that the call-up-system would have taken off before now, but for the need to protect the shoreline at the Tin Can Island port area.
NPA’s General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication, Adams Jatto, confirmed the plan when he told journalists in Lagos that the system would go a long way in addressing the traffic gridlock in Apapa.
According to Jatto, “We have concluded the procurement process to be able to engage our investors to manage the truck park. So with this, I believe we should be able to have something on ground for people to be proud of. Call-up system is not just the areas we are looking at, for us to ease the congestion along ports access roads.
“It is a kind of temporary measure for us to ensure that we have a free flow on the axis that lead to the ports. The call-up system is for us to be able to have truck parks along ports area and some of the truck owners have assured us that they have truck parks, where they can park their trucks.
“A call-up system is to ensure that in each of the areas where there are truck parks, the trucks are there and when it is time for them to come to the ports, we have to adopt the call-up system to call them. On the basis of this, we will be able to streamline the trucks coming into the ports, to ease congestion.”
Jatto said the management of NPA led by Bala-Usman has always been desirous to address issues of the port access roads in Apapa, through sustainable road construction.
“A truck terminal park had been constructed at Tin-Can Island port, but the shoreline protection was not done. The Federal Ministry of Works had re-awarded the contract for completion. Our Managing Director/CEO, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman had taken a bold step to ensure that the truck terminal will be managed by Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“That is where we are having real automation of call-up system. The management of NPA is working toward ensuring that Lillypond terminal is converted to a truck transit park for easy flow of traffic, along ports access road in Lagos,” he stated.
He said that with the construction of the Lagos Port Complex road under short term, the medium term plan would be to construct the Apapa Creek Road up to Tin-Can Island Port and Mile-2.
The road, he said, would be constructed from Mile 2 to Oworonsoki, adding that the construction would be handled by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Meanwhile, THISDAY learnt that the customs officers at the facility will be asked to leave, adding that management of the service might be forced to redeploy its personnel to various commands under zone A.
A source who did not want his name in print, disclosed that letters have been written to the Area Controller of Lilypond Command over the development.
Nigerian exporters had recently raised the alarm that cashew nuts valued at $300 million have been trapped at the Lagos Ports and called on the federal government to come to their aid by addressing the challenges of congestion and inefficiency at Lagos’ ports, which have affected exports.
The exporters said gridlock and inefficiency at the ports of Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, delayed shipment of 50,000 tonnes of cashew nuts and is threatening this year’s output as traders are cash-strapped.