Freight Forwarders, Truckers Blame Shipping Firms For Apapa Gridlock
Freight forwarders and truckers have blamed shipping companies as the key factor causing the gridlock experience at Apapa ports.
They also attributed some of the blame to extortion from security agencies and poor access roads.
The maritime stakeholders who deliberated at the second series of a stakeholder forum focused on resolving the gridlock in Apapa on Wednesday in their separate submissions asked the Lagos Task Team on Law and Order in Apapa to intervene in the matter.
Deputy President of Committee of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations, Okafor Stephen, berated shipping lines for failing to provide holding bays for storing containers.
He also accused the Lagos State Government of sidelining truckers from the taskforce.
Stephen said, “The enforcement team on ground is not working with us and our businesses are suffering. One of the causes of the problems is the absence of holding bays.
“A lot of things need to be done along that Tin-Can axis. The construction by Hi-Tech is taking a long time. If that road is ready, it will go a long way in curbing traffic along the corridor. There is also the issue of insufficient transit parks along the access corridor.”
Stephen also asked that Lilypond be fixed and reopened for business.
Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Remi Ogungbemi, said the truckers did not need a task force but a conducive environment for operations.
Similarly, a member of AMATO said from Ijora down to Apapa, he identified over 16 checkpoints, extorting monies from truckers.
A member of the Logistics Practitioners of Nigeria, Godwin Ikeji, asked the task team to route a request to the Nigerian government directing shipping companies to take 3,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units out of the ports.
He said, “Who are the shipping companies? What is happening inside the ports? That is where our problem starts.
“Let the Nigerian government direct all shipping lines to take away from this country 3,000 TEUs. If every shipping line take their empty containers from Nigeria, everywhere will clear up.”
A representative of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Umeadi Emmanuel said shipping companies had used the port environment as their dumping ground.
Responding, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, said his decision to toll errant vehicles still stood.
He advised truckers to keep themselves off the road till they were called into the ports. He also asked them to stay off the road and stop causing nuisance on Lagos roads.