The International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA) has said that it is approaching banks, companies as well as port concessionaire; Sifax Group for palliatives on the dilapidated Coconut bus stop axis of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway.The group raised alarm that billions of Naira belonging to importers and investors are being destroyed everyday as containers fall on the dilapidated road. They lamented that there have been no efforts from either the Federal Ministry of Works Housing and Power, the Lagos State Government or from the NPA management to put palliative measures on the road.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily at the port last week, the Tin Can Island Port Chapter Chairman of IFFA;Mr Ojo Akintoye said that his group, accompanied by the Tin Can police command and the Area Command held a meeting with Sifax bonded terminals as well as the banks along Coconut bus stop to render support.He lamented that members of the Apapa port community and those working in Apapa can no longer drive their cars to their offices due to bad roads, they now park at Mile 2 bus stop.Akintoye commended the leadership of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) for taking the initiative to put palliative measures on some portions of the Coconut bus stop, even as he assured that IFFA as a group is also ready to contribute its quota as an association to put a temporary palliative measure on the road. “We have been speaking with stakeholders including banks, terminal operators, some have promised us, but we want to ensure we have it all at once. We need more than 5 trips of 30tonnes of hard core stones on the road”“We have approached the stakeholders and we have talked to them, but it is not something we want to bring out now, because we don’t want them to feel like we are exposing what they have not done, I don’t know if it might also have some implications with the federal government, so they would want to be silent about it”“They told us that they want to discuss it at management level so that they can approve the money; we are not saying they should give us money, but we just want them to supply us the hard core stones to fill the road from Zenith bank to Sifax bonded terminal. The service lane is too bad”“The NARTO people are trying their best. Two months ago, they brought six trucks of the hard core, they were the ones that fixed the Coconut area, so we need to support them, it should not be about NARTO alone, the loads that NARTO members are carrying is not their own, the bankers are there and the other stakeholders are there they equally know that the road would be affecting their business” he said.Akintoye also revealed that the association has equally approached the Nigerian Ports Authority at Tin Can Port to relax its traffic rules and sometimes allow trucks to pass through the port access road whenever the expressway is blocked. He told our correspondent has acceded to this demand.“We have approached the Area Commander of Police and Nigerian Ports Authority to temporarily allow people to drive through the port access road. They have agreed with us and they have been doing so. Why we cannot make it official is because we know the way tanker drivers and trailer drivers behave, before you know it they would block the road again and turn it to a parking space”“We are just doing it systematically, when we see that the expressway is too bad or that a container has fallen, then we can pass through the port access” he said.However, when our correspondent contacted the Sifax Group head of corporate affairs, Mr. Muyiwa Akande said that he has not been briefed of such collaboration between Sifax Group and the association.“As of now, I have no information on that, I don’t know if anything would happen tomorrow, but right now, I have not been briefed about any such development and partnership. But, I will make enquiries, maybe they are keeping it at executive level” he said.