Dr. Frank Ukor (National President, AREFFN) Definitely the wagons would reduce the traffic and cargo congestion in Apapa port, but the question is, when would these wagons arrive, is it when we are all dead that the wagons would arrive? At this time, they are still planning on how to bring them, but eventually if the wagons come, it would help the situation, what it means is that, probably, containers that 20 trucks should carry, only one wagon would now carry it, so with this, we can move a lot of goods out of the port, this is what they should have done long time ago. What we would have expected them to do is to give a facelift to all the potholes that is making it difficult for trucks to pass through the port, they should have put stones there on the road so that trucks would pass through without the containers falling, after this is done, we can now wait for the wagons to arrive.
Emmanuel Oyelami (Business man) I strongly believe that the 100 wagons promised by the honorable minister of transportation is not the solution to traffic congestion in Apapa, the solution is for government to fix the road. The wagon can only move few goods out of the port if eventuality it arrives, but what about the traffic confronted by port users? Apapa-Oshodi is literally a dead zone right now, the only means of accessing the port is Okada (bike) it is a serious shame on our economy. However, I believe the reason that federal government has refused to pay attention and fix the road is because the stakeholders operating at the port are sleeping, the associations and unions are mostly lame docks, if they can come together and shut down the port for just three days, I believe government will listen.
Prince Ozo Chukwura (BOT member, IFFA) The wagons cannot solve any problem, in which way would it solve the problem of traffic in Apapa? Can the train tracks be built overnight? Where are the wagons going to be passing, these are stories we have heard over the years, some of the trucks you see on Apapa-Oshodi roads are taking oil facilities to the door steps of many states in the country, the trailers go to many parts of the country, so where are they going to operate? Anyone suggesting wagons does not understand the situation in Apapa. The one thing that can solve the problem is to fix the road. Is the government telling us that they cannot fix that road, the road we are asking them to fix is not up to three kilometers.
Dabney Shalhoma (Fmr Director, Nigerian Shippers’ Council) There is one major way of moving cargoes in and out of the port that we have neglected all these years, and this is the inland waterways, we can transfer cargoes by barges, so many people transfer by barges, the benefits are enormous.
Uche Increase (NAGAFF President)They are talking of bringing in wagons, where are the tracks, have they laid the tracks for the train to ply on and they are talking about wagons. They should first lay the tracks because they can’t bring it and leave it there. To me, all the ports in Lagos have outlived their usefulness, they are no longer useful, and they have fallen out of use, we no longer have ports as far as Lagos is concerned. So any other thing they are doing as far as these ports are like this is not good. You will come here you will see where there is non-adherence to the concession agreement. We no longer have ports, the ports here are useless. When we have ports we can go on and discuss.
Mr Nnadi Ugochukwu (Freight Forwarder)You are talking about wagons, where are the rail lines that the wagons will take. Until they construct the rail lines, that is when they can start talking about bringing in wagons, but for now there are no rail lines. If they bring the wagons now will they fly the wagons in the air or transport them via the waters. To me it is a political statement. The rail lines in Apapa were constructed in the olden days and it is just within Apapa and Lillypond, it didn’t go beyond that, so what are they talking about.
Barrister Obiageli Obi (Chamber of Shipping)Talking about bringing in wagons, my question is, is it a wagon that will ply the road or the railways. If it is a wagon that will ply the roads, we will still have the same problem but now that it is the rail; the problem is where is the rail and where is it going to stop. I don’t know, I am asking, where is the rail lines going, where are the rail lines, how is the movement. Or are there any rail lines that they have not told us about, is it functioning. I don’t know are they scared to ask these people questions or what.
Okey Nerus (NAGAFF)Bringing in 100 wagons, where will they ply, where are the rail lines, you see the federal government keep making pronouncements that ends up confusing some of us who are the port users. You are bringing in wagons without making provision for the rail lines. These are some of the questions that people should ask. You are bringing in wagons where are they taking the cargoes to. I believe that by now rail lines should have connected some of these off-dock terminals. If those terminals are connected and you’re bringing in wagons, you will find out that people will be happy and the gridlock will be reduced.