Mixed reactions have started trailing the closure of marine bridge in Apapa by the Lagos State government for repairs.
It will be recalled that the Lagos government had announced that the Apapa Marine Beach bridge will be closed for five months, from Wednesday 27th May, to Wednesday 21st October, 2020.
While freight forwarders including the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have faulted the decision by the government, saying that it has further compounded the woes and challenges of the practitioners in that axis, truckers have lauded the Presidential Task Force on law and order in the axis, for a job well done.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily in Apapa last week, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NAGAFF, Mr. Stanley Ezenga explained that logistics around Apapa have been riddled with challenges even before the closure of the bridge.
Ezenga reiterated that the cost implication of the closure of the bridge is enormous, adding that it now takes up to one month for a cargo to exit Apapa due to the closure of the bridge.
“Logistics around Apapa has been a challenge, even before the bridge was closed and the closure has further compounded the woes of freight forwarders. The cost implication of the closure of this bridge is enormous on the freight forwarders, by the time you finish your documentation for the truck to move from wherever, to come to Apapa to load, it will take around one month and you will be paying demurrage both for shipping and terminal”
“So it has been a very big challenge for us and even for commuters themselves, those who work around Apapa, coming to work is a challenge. And then for us to expect cargoes that have been documented is also a bigger challenge. So the closure has brought enormous challenge for people working in Apapa”, he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman Dry Cargo Section of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa said although movement on the axis cannot be as free as it is used to be but the task team is doing good job in the area of managing traffic.
“So to a very large extent movements have been uninterrupted in that axis now; the task force has been regulating the movement”
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN); Chief Anthony Agbalusia said some of freight forwarders have embraced the use of barges, due to the closure of the bridge.
A truck driver, who gave his name as Sunday, said that although the bridge has been closed down for few months, there have been movements due to how the presidential task team has been managing the traffic.
“We have not really felt the effect, there have been movement here and the truck drivers are obeying the directives of the task team” he said.