Agents chide NPA over delay in fixing Apapa road
Iheanacho seek’s redesigning of area layout
Barely three months after the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, championed palliative works on the Tin Can Island Port axis of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, clearing agents have frowned at its prolonged delay.
The agents, under the auspice of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tin Can Island Chapter, accused Bala-Usman of reneging on her promise.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Integrated Oil/Chief Executive Officer, Genesis Worldwide Shipping, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, has urged the Federal Government to set up a commission to look into redesigning the general layout of the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, as cargoes coming in are more than the available infrastructure.
The Chairman, ANCLA, Tin Can Island, Prince Segun Oduntan, has therefore decried the bad condition of the Expressway, which he said is causing his members to lose huge container deposits to shipping companies.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the Tin Can Chairman on Media and Publicity, Akanni Balogun, said the chapter is already in constant engagement with all shipping companies under it, with a possibility of claiming waivers for agents on their container deposits.
Balogun said due to the bad roads leading in and out of the ports, trucks stay on queues for several days and hours before bringing back empty containers, noting that sometimes, a N150,000 container deposit paid by the clearing agent would have depleted to N20,000 and in most cases nothing is refunded.
“The government should be held responsible because they lag behind in handling their responsibility. After the general strike we embarked upon three months ago, the NPA Managing Director inspected the road and assured that palliative works would begin on the road, but up till now, nothing is being done.”
“This has created a bad image of Nigeria in the eye of foreign investors, nobody would bring billions of dollars to invest here only for the cargo to fall down outside the port and be destroyed. We are asking the government when they would take action, but nobody is answering us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iheanacho also stressing the need to urgently fix the roads, argued that there would be an adverse effect on the economy, if Nigerian ports are not working efficiently.
He urged the Federal Government not to hesitate to knock down old and obsolete buildings in Apapa in order to expand the port access road, and create truck marshaling areas.
Iheanacho, a first generation master mariner and founding member of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), gave the advice during a chat with journalists in Lagos.
He warned that if the issues are not addressed, tank farm operators might begin to have challenges in distribution of fuel across the country.
He advised that a commission be set up to cut across all port operators, including shipping companies, regulators, customs, immigration, among others.
According to him, such a commission should also be assisted with the availability of empirical data on the throughput assumptions when the ports were constructed several years ago.
He noted that the traffic situation on the access roads to the ports is abysmally bad, and the ports are currently choked, adding that there is a deficit in terms of the roads available and the traffic that goes into and out of the ports
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