The West African Road Transport Owners (WARTO) has said that terminal operators and tank farm owners are the major causes of the persistent gridlock being experienced on the Apapa Oshodi expressway in Lagos.
The National President of the association who is also the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners ( NARTO); Mr. Aloga Obogo, who said this in an interview in Lagos last week, also alleged that some terminal operators lack sufficient cargo handling equipment.
He also accused tank farms of overloading trucks, thereby making them spoil the roads.
Aloga who advised that trucks should be stacked and allowed to operate only at nights said that truckers are the ones that suffer the gridlock the most.
"The trucks are meant to be stacked and after stacking, then you move them at night to the ports, then going beyond that again the roads are bad. You see it is not the interest of any trucker to remain on the road because his income is a function of his turnaround. We quite sympathize with the terrible experiences the drivers are doing through . Then again some of these terminal operators do not have sufficient cargo handling equipment. For a number of containers you need a specific number of cargo handling equipment, these things are compounding the problems"
He also called for a strong regulation to ensure that this menace of gridlock is properly addressed.
"You see, tank farms have caused enormous problems because if a tank farm for example has the capacity to load maybe, 300 trucks and he goes ahead and collect money for 500 trucks, if the 300 trucks are loaded where do you expect the remaining 200 trucks to go. It still boils down on the issue of regulation", he argued.
He advised that before a tank farm can be issued a licensed, there is need to ensure that the tank farm has a truck holding bay.
"Again there is a DPR policy that says that before you license a tank farm you must have a truck holding bay. How many of these trucks have a holding bay and how were they licensed. And as I speak to you, some other tank farms are coming up in Ijegun. Government must be proactive to see how they can address the issues of these tank farms coming up. Most of the containers that were moved from the roads were taken to empty bonded terminals and those terminal were used as container holding bays"
He explained that another issue affecting their operations is the system shutdown by some terminal operators.
"It boils down to the point that we have raised; that shipping companies need holding bays so that they can stack containers and move the containers at nights. Sometimes there are also problems like these containers are getting into the ports all of a sudden you will hear of system shutdown. The system of the terminal has shut down and what that means is that you cannot access the ports. Invariably, these trucks that are being tires down with containers will also lead to congestion at the ports. Because these same trucks that are supposed to leave the ports are the same trucks that are tired down", he added.