The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), has said that lack of holding bay by about 60 tank farms contributed to the persistent gridlocks of trucks and articulated vehicles in Apapa area of Lagos.
Mr Aloga Ogbogo, National Executive Secretary, NARTO disclosed this in an interview in Lagos.
Ogbogo said that each of the tank farms had the capacity to load between 100 to 150,000 tankers daily when products are available for discharge which resulted to congestion during loading.
`The Lagos ports are the collection point where vessels bringing petroleum products discharge to tank farms
There are close to 60 tank farms within Apapa axis alone, each with capacity to load about 150, 000 trucks a day when products are available. Vehicles queue up on roads in the area for the products since there were no holding bays to accommodate the loading trucks while waiting for their turns.
The NARTO scribe said tank farms should be mandated to have holding bays where the trucks would park while waiting to load product.
According to him, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) regulation mandated tank farms to have holding bays where trucks hibernate to load products before they move out.
”So, when you see trucks on the road queuing up, it is due to lack of holding bay to accommodate them at the depot,’’ he added.
The secretary said that the bad road network in the area also contributed to the constant gridlock at Apapa.
He advised the Federal Government to concession the roads to the private sector for proper and constant maintenance.
“”In advanced countries, government has no business in road construction, they are concession to the private sector to construct and for maintenance,’’ Ogbogo said.
Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Hyginus Omeje, had said that the permanent solution to the Apapa gridlock was the establishment of holding bays to accommodate trucks and articulated vehicles before loading.
Omeje said that the development would put an end to the perennial gridlock.
He said that all owners of tank farms should provide facilities that would accommodate trucks coming into their facilities to load.
“I think the traffic congestion problem in Apapa will be solved permanently if holding bays can be established to take trucks coming in to load.
“The stakeholders, with owners of tank farms, should begin to pay attention to having a holding bay that can contain some trucks before being called in to load,’’ he said.
Omeje said that government was trying to address the issue by bringing private investors to put up the facilities for the benefit of the residents.
He said that this was a fundamental issue that was needed to allow free flow of traffic within the corridor.
“We can have the private sector coming up with the parks that some of the trucks can easily move in and wait for loading instead of parking along the streets in Apapa, thereby causing hold ups.
“Through the process, the next truck to load in the tank farm will be called through electronic call-up system. This method will reduce the gridlock,’’ he said.
According to Omeje, the FRSC has partnered the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to inspect all trucks coming into the port for business.
“We have had various meetings with the stakeholders, registered operators and NPA and we told them that it will not be business as usual if their trucks are not roadworthy.
“Beside, some of the articulated vehicles are overloaded, thereby causing traffic along the road.
“We want to ensure that our road transport safety standard schemes are implemented at the ports for every truck coming in to load,’’ he said.