The Minister of Power, Works and Housing; Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said that the Federal Government is tackling the problems of overstretched facilities at Lagos ports by replacing manual operations with computerised systems to ease congestion.
Fashola made this known during an interactive session with some social clubs on Friday at the Lagos City Hall, even as appealed for patience from road users.
The minister said parts of the technology were being manufactured abroad and would soon be shipped in to upgrade activities in the ports.He acknowledged that port access roads were in bad shape when the present government took over, but added that contracts for the repair of the roads had been awarded.
The minister said that the ports had not been expanded beyond what the colonial regime left in the 1920s for about 70 years.
Fashola also said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation was tackling the issue of expansion of the ports which was not concluded by the previous administration.
The Minister also said that a recent study by Julius Berger Plc and some foreign firms revealed that bridges in Lagos were not threatened by stationary articulated vehicles heading for the ports.
He, however, said that the ministry frowned at indiscriminate parking of trucks on the bridges even as the static load from stationary trucks did not threaten the structural integrity of the bridges.
“We have sought since December last year expert opinion from Julius Berger, United Kingdom and I believe from Israel, and this is written advisory, that static load is not the threat to the bridges at all structurally.
“And that the real danger lies in when the trucks are fully loaded and speeding on the bridge.
“That is written, and written to us, because I am not an engineer but I have asked those who should know and that is the opinion they have signed off on.
“That said; let us also understand that most of the trucks that are coming into the ports are coming to receive cargo, although it is fair to acknowledge that some of them are also exporting cargo.
“So, they are not fully loaded trucks going in, that you see on the bridge.
“Then, it is also important to also say that, when you take the numbers, a significant number of them are carrying containers they are going to return because of a policy by the ports managers that charges them certain amount for demurrage for late containers.
“So essentially, there is a sizeable amount of empty trucks coming that way.
“Be that as it may, we do not like trucks to remain on the roads, how did it happen? We have outgrown our port capacity,” Fashola said.