The Shippers’ Association of Lagos State last Tuesday appealed to the Federal Government to expand the access road to the Port and Terminal Multi-Service Ltd. (PTML), Grimaldi to reduce traffic congestion.
The association’s General Secretary, Mr Jonathan Nicol, made the appeal in an interview what our correspondent in Lagos.
“Grimaldi suddenly had a boom. Most of the people are now diverting their cargoes to Grimaldi, but the access road is too narrow for about 200 heavy duty trucks to enter into the terminal, load and get out.
“The space between the entrance to Grimaldi is enormous; that is, trucks that are parked on the right side of the road, if all of those trucks are evacuated, especially trucks that probably have been abandoned or under repair; that is not a mechanic warehouse.
“So, what they need to do is to clear the whole of that place, allow trucks that need to go to Grimaldi port to park in there.
“And they will call them one after the other to go and load and, then, clear the access road for them to come out.’’
Nicol said that the difficulty of trucks in getting into the ports was negatively affecting the operations of the company.
“The purpose of sending goods to Grimaldi will be defeated, if the trucks cannot go into the port easily and come out easily; then, it means the number of boxes they bring out from terminal will be minimised.
“Officers will be working out their lives to get all these boxes out, only for bottleneck through transportation that would be difficult for them to come out of the port.
“So the various task forces on transportation relating to Apapa Road, Creek Road, even to the Warehouse Road should divert their search lights on Grimaldi access road because the traffic there is hopelessly bad.
“To take about three hours from West Minster to Apapa Wharf; yesterday was abnormal; from Creek Road, on top of the bridge, to West Minister, it took us two-and-a-half hours.
“It was not even a “go slow’’. It was a holdup, and what is the cause? Trucks that want to enter Grimaldi terminal. They just blocked the road.
“And meanwhile, there are enormous spaces by the side of the road. They can park very well and they are called into the port.
“Grilmadi brings out the trucks as easily as possible; so, I don’t think waiting time will be much.’’
Nicol told our correspondent that easy movement of vehicles at the port would enable shippers and the Nigeria Customs Service to realise their respective revenue targets.
He urged that the relevant government task force to disallow trucks that had no business in the port from entering there.
NPA Frowns Against Extortion Of Truck Drivers
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has threatened to sanction any staff that indulges in extortion of money from truck drivers at Apapa Port.
The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Koko expressed optimism that the agency’s collaboration with the state government would bring an end to the perennial gridlock within and around the Apapa area.
The NPA boss emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, which are the two busiest ports in the country.
He said NPA had been inundated with complaints of extortion from truckers, especially by security operatives, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
He described the practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
“One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA security staff.
“This is one of the areas we require the intervention of government, because we have police officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this. We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this.
“We have moved some of them out of port locations, and we will do further reviews. Whoever is found involved would be appropriately sanctioned”, he said.
The NPA boss acknowledged that the Lagos State Government had been a close partner in terms of enforcement, but asked for more intervention to end the menace.
“NPA has reached out to the Federal Ministry of Works, we have been speaking with the Director of Works in the State, and we have asked that they should provide some palliatives around Sunrise Bus-stop.
“We were made to understand that the contract for that section of the road has just been awarded, but because of the rains, work has been delayed”, he added.
MWUN Tasks NIMASA, NIWA On Boat Drivers’ Training
The Maritime and Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to train and retrain boat drivers in the country to reduce incessant accidents on our waterways.
MWUN said training and retraining of boat drivers would enhance their capability and efficiency in the industry and save lives.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Jonah Jumbo disclosed this during a telephone interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jumbo also advised NIMASA and NIWA to sanction any boat driver involved in over-speeding, overloading and reckless driving to reduce boat mishaps.
The chairman who regretted that most boat drivers lacked the skills and technical know-how to navigate the waters, said their human errors often caused accidents.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that regular training for boat drivers would enrich their skills and enable them to read the tide while on transit.
He frowned at the increasing rate of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways and urged all stakeholders to check the trend.
The MWUN boss called on the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to arrest and prosecute any driver indulging in alcohol and overloading of passengers while on transit, adding that the act caused over seventy percent of water accident.
He appealed to drivers to desist from acts capable of causing accident, noting that many families have lost their loved ones through reckless driving and unholy acts caused by human errors on the waterways.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Sokoto To Boost Water Transport With Motorised Boats
The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, says his administration will boost water transportation with motorised boats.
He also said his government would make life jackets available to all travellers and other water users to reduce boat mishap.
The governor stated this while commiserating with the people of Shagari Local Government Area that recently lost their loved ones in a boat mishap in the state.
He regretted that the state had lost many lives to boat accidents and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear their loss.
Also speaking, Chairman, Shagari Local Government Council, Aliyu Dantine Shagari, said eight of the victims were married women while five were children and elderly men.
He attributed the cause of the boat mishap to overloading.
“But there are other causes of boat mishap including strong wind. We are still investigating the matter to know what actually led to the accident”, he said.
The chairman advised boat drivers to desist from overloading and over speeding, noting that the community lost over six people in a similar accident last year.
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