Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed thick optimism that, with the pace of work ongoing at Lekki ports and Warri ports, the two ports will soon be ready to help relieve the ports in Apapa and Tincan Island which are over stretched by as much as 50 million metric tomes on a daily basis.
Osinbajo made this disclosure at the weekend when he paid a working visit to Apapa ports in company of Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman.
”This is a port that was designed to take 34 million metric tonnes daily but it is currently taking over 80 million metric tonnes.
“With this, it is obvious that there is need to find alternative quickly and to expand, where that is possible,’’ said Osinbajo.
The Vice President, who perhaps came to see how President Buhari’s order for decongestion of port access roads played out, was accompanied on the tour by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, among others.
“The Lekki port is an ongoing project which will be a great help when completed because it will support the Apapa and Tin Can ports.
“Also, we are dredging the Warri Port which is aimed to decongest the traffic into and out of the Apapa and Tin Can ports,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice President noted that the Federal Government would continue to implement short and long term measures to ensure long lasting solution to the gridlock in the Apapa area of the state and its environs.
“You will see that the entry route to the port has been cleared. So, we need to understand that there are short term and mid to long term solutions.
“One of the mid-to-long term measures is to decongest the cargo traffic coming into the port,” he said.
Osinbajo noted that government was set to improve infrastructure and call up system for trucks and the ports while working on harnessing opportunities of the intermodal transport system.
“Also, the Lagos-Kano rail is also starting from the Apapa ports. So, we expect that we should be able to get cargo out of the Apapa port using the rail than take cargo out of the port using the hinterlands and some are using badges at the moment.
“So, I can tell you that there are different approaches toward getting better movement in and out of Apapa.
“The other thing is the clearing of the trailers and tankers on the road so that there can be easy access to the port and you will see that there is considerable improvement within the axis.
“The Mile 2 end is the axis where we think that there is difficulty but we think that in the next couple of days, it will be resolved especially with the opening of the Tin Can Island trailer parks and the palliative work that is ongoing all the way to Mile 2.”
Osinbajo expressed satisfaction over the work carried out by the Presidential task force vested with the responsibility of decongesting the truck-laden roads where residents spend all days grounded.
Recall that in May, a presidential taskforce was constituted to clear the Apapa road of articulated vehicles which had locked down the road, causing residents and commuters in the axis untold hardship.