National President of NUPENG, Comrade Williams Akporeha (2nd from left) Federal Road Safety Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, National Chairman of PTD, Comrade Salimon Akani Oladiti and other participants during a training programme for tanker drivers conducted at Jibowu Lagos last week
Operators in the oil and gas sector have called on the Federal Government to take a cue from the Lagos State Government and create a special route on the Apapa expressway for petroleum tankers and trucks seeking access to petroleum tank farms around the ports in Apapa.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that the Lagos government some years ago had begun to implement the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) service by demarcating federal government roads in the state.
Under the arrangement of the transport scheme, the lane was created from the existing federal roads in Lagos for the exclusive use of buses operating under the Bus Rapid Transport scheme.
Stakeholders have however suggested that this approach would be welcomed with open arms and that it would be the lasting solution to the ever present traffic gridlock on the Apapa-oshodi expressway.
A petroleum marketer at MRS Tank farm at Tin Can Island Port, Comrade Chima Daniels in a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week argued that apart from the option of moving the petroleum tank farms from Apapa port area, the federal government should consider adopting BRT lane model where tankers would be given a special lane.
Comrade Daniels observed that this model is also being used at the Port Harcourt port and Onne to ease petroleum product movement.
“We have got to move some of the tank farms away from Apapa if we really have to face realities, the tank farms should be moved to Badagry, Ikorodu. However, this is not the only solution that can be explored, there is the BRT model which was practice by the Lagos state Government by creating a special lane for BRT busses and it has been highly successful”
“The difference between the tank farms in Lagos and those in other ports of the country like Port Harcourt is that the access road for the tankers is different from the access road for the dry port cargoes and this is why they don’t feel so much pressure, this is the approach they should have given to Lagos”, he explained.
Comrade Daniels lamented that the traffic situation in Apapa has been compounded because there is only a single access road where thousands of trucks are coming in and out of the port area daily.
Corroborating what the marketer has said, another oil and gas practitioner, Mr. Wale Odu told Shipping Position Daily that the difference between Lagos and other busy ports like Port Harcourt and Onne is that the access road to the port is different from the access for the tank farms, he said this has further reduced the burden of operators in that area.
Secondly, Wale Odu, a Chief Executive of Talod Oceanair Freight Limited observed that, “the ports in Port Harcourt for now, in terms of infrastructure are far better than what we have in Lagos; it is not as if the road is fantastic, but they are better”
“In a situation where you have a breakdown of truck on the road and this causes lot congestion in a day, Port Harcourt is not facing that headache”
“People that operate in oil and gas, we pay our duty to the last kobo and we don’t shortchange government, you cannot compare it to Lagos, the people clear their cargoes, it doesn’t go to the road, they have their stacking area from where it goes to the rig” he said.