Shipping companies are responsible for 70% percent of the traffic congestion at the port and this is driven by their greed for money and refusal to provide holding bays.
The Chairman of Apapa Local Government Council, Lagos State, Honourable Elijah Adele stated this while fielding questions from executives of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) who visited him in his office at the council’s secretariat in Apapa, the home of Apapa and Tincan Island ports.
According to him, ‘the shipping companies are driven by greed. Most of them deliberately keep trucks bearing empty containers lined up on the road in order to deplete container deposits paid by importers.
The Chairman said many residents of Apapa have been adversely affected by the traffic situation, even as he lamented that the revenue collection of the local government has dwindled because most business owners have closed shop.
Adele told the journalists that this was main reason why he decided to errect barricades, thereby restricting trucks from accessing the inner roads and residential areas in Apapa.
The Chairman also said that it is regrettable that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who is saddled with the responsibility of inspection of shipping companies and their holding bays before renewing their licenses has failed to do their job.
“The major challenge of the trucks on our roads are the shipping companies, 70% of the traffic situation in Apapa is caused by the shipping companies, they supposed to have holding bays or bonded terminals, it is just as if you are bringing in a car from abroad, but instead of you to have a car park, you decided to park on the main road”
“We have government officials that renew their (shipping companies) licenses and one of the conditions that needed to be fulfilled is that you need to inspect their bonded terminals to be sure that they have a place for empty containers, but here, the reverse is the case”
“The shipping companies are doing this because they usually collect N250,000 as demurrage (container deposit)
“Because of exploitation, they allow truckers to be on the main road, journey of five day would now take you two weeks. On each day, for one empty container, they charge about N9, 500 as demurrage, some container can stay on cue for a month, it then means that the N250,000 is gone”
“When I resumed here newly, I talked with the truckers, NPA, APMT and other concessionaires, and I also talked with some of the shipping companies, but they have this confidence that no matter how you try, you would not break through, so I was challenged” Adele stated
He noted that the barricades on the Apapa inner roads are movable, but any company that needs to receive a container must inform the government 12hours ahead in order to have access. On weekends, he said they need to inform government 48hours ahead so that her officers can be on ground.
He assured that the local government area wants business owners within the inner roads in Apapa to be able to do their businesses without stress.
“Revenue generation in Apapa has declined and it is only those that are rugged that are still in Apapa, but by the time you meet them, they would tell you their side of the story that for one month, customers find it difficult to access their place”
“As for the trucks on the Apapa Bridge, we have already moved they out, the strength and expiration date of the bridge have already lapsed, some of them have spent more that forty years, it is only the grace of God that has been sustaining that bridge, not to talk of bow adding more load on it. The bridge is supposed to be for transit and not for cargoes not to be personally situation”