Has the creation of holding bays ameliorated congestion at Lagos ports? 

Pius Ujubonu (ANLCA Member)

To some extent yes, but it could be better, the problem  generally , is the result of change management  initiatives at the conceptual stage of the concession, vis-a-vis expansion  inside the port, increased throughput and of course  increased vessel call. 

All these were taking place upstream and at the quay side and harbor, however, no increments in infrastructure or expansion, no laws, no regulation, no maneuver spaces and no emergency tools provided to deal with stress when they occur. 

Also, the transportation policy of the federal government is too obsolete for current realities. The holding bay came in late when the damage has become too grave to be corrected too quickly.

 

Sunny Nnebe (Chairman, PTML chapter, IFFA) 

To an extent, it has ameliorated the problems; our problem still remains NPA officials and bad roads. Those who managed to get close to the port with empty containers are being exploited by the officials and where they refuse to part with big money, they will not be allowed to go to drop their empties, leading to those lined up at their backs not having access to pass. We need to remember that holding bay outside the port is as good as not having it at all because in one way or the other, those empties have to come back to the port, so congestion continues.

 

Dr. Boniface Aniebonam (Founder, NAGAFF) 

Unplanned holding bay is of no consequence.  We must learn to build consensus in our endeavor and come up with a sustainable approach for a call up system

 

Emmanuel Onyeme (Public Relations Officer, ANLCA Tin Can Chapter)

I must tell you the truth, when people talk about holding bay, I don't see any shipping company having holding bay, I can't see anyone, if I have my way, I would suggest that government should provide places like Badagry where the shipping companies can have a place to keep their empty containers, this would even help further to solve the problems of congestion we are having within our port system, if government can move their holding bay to Badagry, it is an opportunity for the government to also dredge the seaport from Lagos to Badagry. So for me, I don't see the holding bay helping us. The holding bay can only serve as solution to the congestion if government can move them to places like Badagry.

 

Ojo Akintoye (ANLCA member at Tin Can Port)

The issue of holding bay is not really our problem at the Tin Can Island Port, though it is contributing to the problems now. The area where government needs to contribute its own quota is to make the port access road good and accessible, we have been handling this same number of containers as we have today for the past three years, but why we were not feeling the brunt as we do today was because the roads were accessible. In the past, shipping companies and terminals usually move their empty containers at night from their holding bay to the port.Some importers still prefer to move their cargoes through the Apapa-Oshodi expressway which means the road is more important that the one Dangote built in Apapa Wharf, if the road is fixed, then 50 % of our troubles would have been solved.

 

Stanley Ezenga (NAGAFF PRO)

The construction of holding bays will not reduce the congestion that we have at the ports now. This congestion at the ports is a reoccurring decimal, it happens every year between the month of August till December. However this year’s own is being compounded by bad roads and infrastructure because majority of the roads leading to the ports have failed and then, construction works are going on in some of them, thereby obstructing the free flow of traffic into the ports. It now puts blame on the lack of holding bays for empty containers. In as much as the holding bays will reduce the congestion, we must understand that even if the holding bays are constructed, these containers will still move into the ports through the roads. So it is not as if when they offload them at holding bays it will now fly to the ports. So no matter what, even if you drop them at the holding bay at the appropriate time, you will still call trucks to take them to the ports. So the holding bay may reduce the congestion but won't eliminate it totally.

 

Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa (Chairman, Dry Cargo, NARTO)

Actually the construction of holding bays will reduce 80% of the congestion at the ports. On our own at NARTO, we have advocated that NPA should use Lillypond terminal to accommodate those shipping companies that do not have functional holding bays. So, the terminal should serve for receiving empty containers in order to regulate the traffic congestion. If this is done, all the containers will be dropped there and then the shipping companies will have access to get the data of all the containers that are going into the ports, that is when there will be call up of the containers that will be going to the ports. As we know, the Lillypond terminal can serve multipurpose functions, you can assess the terminal with rail, and take the containers into Apapa ports and use call up for trucks that will be taking the containers into the ports. And also we are still advocating that Brawal Terminal can also be used as a holding bay because the place is empty.

 

Chief Remi Ogungbemi (AMARTO)

Absolutely, the holding bay is the ultimate solution and that was how it was before they tampered with it. The authorities tampered with the structure of the ports, there were designated places in the past that were used for holding bay. But for reasons best known to people in authority, they removed those places; it was not like that before. So, by the time we have a place where the trucks will park and we will be using a technology to call them up when required to come into the ports, the trucks must come from somewhere that is the ultimate. 

 

Paul Ndibe (CILT)

I subscribe to having holding bays, but the challenge is, where would the holding bay be cited? If the locations are at the ports, they will still have to pass through our narrow roads to the ports and for the period that they will pass, they will still create congestion. Note that the arrival time, loading and discharge at the various ports are not the same. So, the critical thing is that there should be an arrangement where some licensed truck operators can be given the license to bring trucks.

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