Francis Ehiguese (Director, Centre for Logistics and Transport Education)
If we all functionally agree that seaport spatial areas are meant to temporally hold cargo for inspection and clearance only, then our attitudes of using the port will change. Attitudinal change is critical to solving the problems. Yes, Terminal Operators owning holding bays is part of the solution to the perennial traffic gridlock in Apapa. Calling the government to fix the roads leading to and within Apapa is no longer news, what will perhaps be news is when the roads are opened for use. It is not enough for operators to have these holding bays, they should make the bays available for use by trucks bringing or taking out cargo from their terminals. On no account should terminal operators call in trucks if their bays are not free and also reading to commence discharge or loading.
Apapa traffic situation is not only a national shame but a very frightening one. I wonder if Apapa will ever return to what it was in the past as its commercial and industrial values are daily being eroded.
It is also important to state that even if the roads have almost collapsed, effective traffic enforcement is really not there. Truck operators cannot be more powerful than our security personnel. What is happening to Apapa and its environs is largely a long time institutional failures. Babatunde Mukaila (Secretary General, ANLCA)
Holding bay by shipping companies outside the port will go a long way to reduce the perennial traffic logjam in Apapa. Innua Mohammed (NARTO Chairman)
Yes, ownership of empty containers holding bay by shipping companies is the solution to the traffic gridlock around the ports and roads linking the ports. It is like if you own a big plaza or eatery and you don't provide parking space for your customers with their vehicles to patronize, then what do you expect? The customers will all park their vehicles along the road, which is what is really happening around the ports and its environs as a result of no provision of holding bays by shipping companies to receive back their empty containers.
If holding bays are provided, 80% of the traffic gridlock will disappear; this is the only time that a coordinated Call-Up-System for receiving empty containers can take off successfully. Each of the shipping companies will prepare a list of their empty containers coming from their holding bays and must be submitted to port managers’ office before the operation commences.
The list will be endorsed and approved by the port manager and a copy of it will be sent to task force team on each locations and the approval list will be used by the task force team to allow access to the port or turn back the offenders. Oladipo Bolade Lawrence (ANLCA ASECO Secretary)
I think ownership of holding bay by shipping companies will solve the gridlock around the port to a reasonable extent. The road leading to the port should also be fixed adequately without delay. The call up system should be adopted for container laden vehicles in order for us to avoid congestion of truck around the port. Apart from these, traffic officers posted to control the situation must stop extorting truckers and take the call up system as a priority. No rickety truck should be allowed to load or offload container at the port. This will discourage breakdown of truck around the port.
Sampson Chima (Registrar, NIS)
Holding Bay by shipping companies is just a short term solution to the traffic situation in Apapa. We should look beyond that. Government should carry out a long term plan to curb the situation. The long plan includes the provision of railway to evacuate container and bulk commodities. Establishment of Inland Container Depots, decentralisation of the Lagos port, as it is, the Lagos port is over-burdened already.
Okay Nerus (NAGAFF Electoral Committee Chair)
Part of the concessionary agreement with the terminal operators is that they must have holding bays outside the ports. But today, not even one of them has kept to that agreement. Reasons are hinged on several factors. The gridlock has over time led to the present dilapidated state of the road, truck laden empty containers that are being returned back to the ports are also a major issue. If the shipping lines and terminal operators have holding bays outside of the port, then over 70% of the gridlock would have been solved.
The Wharf road is currently being fixed, but this will not address the issue completely, because the volume of traffic will still be inconsistent with cargo turn around at the ports. Cargoes will still exit the ports and empties returned back to the terminals. Fixing of the road by government is only being clever by half. The main issues must be addressed. Ojo Akintoye (Chairman, Tin Can Chapter, IFFA)
We are having two major problems in Apapa, first is the one that the shipping companies are giving us, the second one is the port access roads, if the two problems can be fixed, we would not be having challenges in Apapa again. The other thing which I can see that the Apapa Local Government has started doing now is curtailing the indiscipline of our truck drivers, the local government has been able to stand up to its responsibilities, for more than a month now, we have been driving conveniently to the office because the Apapa local government has made it mandatory for any trailer to wait at Ijora from where they would be called upon whenever they are needed at the port. The only challenge is the lack of trailer park for the truckers to stay. Also, the 700 capacity trailer park at Ijora that is sponsored by the state government should be made affordable for the truckers to patronize; it should not be more than N500 or N200.
Mr. Shedrack Paully (Freight Forwarder)
I believe that the ownership of holding bays can stop the traffic in and out of the ports. But that is not the lasting solution; the federal government should try and work on the roads.
Alhaji Kayode Odunlowo (JCOST)
Holding bay is the solution, there is no other solution. Let the shipping companies go and maintain their holding bays and be functional with it. Not just telling people that we have holding bays when there is no road to that place, they should make it functional so that anybody that carries container will go straight and offload and go back again. They can be taking the empties to the ports at their own time.
Stanley Ezenga (NAGAFF)
It will not help in solving the problem even though it can give it a temporary relief. This is because the truck that will pick those containers back to their base will go through Apapa or TinCan, so invariably, even when you take the container to the holding bay you will have to wait for trucks to pick them up. So, if they have streamlined the call up for trucks that will help to ease the traffic. That is to say that if they say from this time till this time, empty containers should be going into the ports that will help to minimize the influx on containers into ports.