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Tank Farms And The Apapa Traffic Menace

Tank Farms And The Apapa Traffic Menace

A Tank Farm

The issue of traffic jams at the Apapa road has become endemic and it seems it has come to stay. Tanker drivers feel they own the road and usually defy all attempts by the Lagos State Government to force them off the road.

These tanker drivers have literally taken over the highway, unleashing anguish to other road users. Often they use blackmail, like embarking on strikes and denying Nigerians access to petroleum products in order to remain on the road.

The situation couldn’t have been worse but the citing of tank farms along the roads led tanker drivers to park and wait on the highways just to load petroleum products, blocking the road with their heavy-duty trucks and causing a nuisance to other road users.

But this impunity cannot be allowed to continue, as the importance of the Apapa road to the nation’s economy cannot be overemphasized. This road is the access route to the nation’s busiest ports, Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Ports in Apapa, Lagos, which witness high volume of imports into the country.  Often shippers have lamented the difficulty they face in clearing their cargoes out of the ports, costing them billions of naira in demurrages charges on their goods. A recent report by Deloitte had indicated that shippers pay N668, 493, 150 daily as demurrages to shipping companies and terminal operators anytime their cargoes remain trapped at the Lagos ports.

Concerned stakeholders in the maritime industry have asked for the relocation of the tank farms, as their existence encouraged the tanker drivers to constitute nuisance as a menace to other road users.

It is on record that the Federal Government is implementing its recent executive order on the ease of doing business in Nigeria, an effort geared towards removing some of the bottlenecks that hinders easy flow of business in our nation, even as the Lagos state government strives towards achieving its pet project as a mega city.

These are some of the reasons the recent move by the Lagos State House of Assembly urging the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to relocate tank farms at Apapa to less congested area, is most welcomed.

Mojisola Miranda, representing Apapa Constituency 1, made the call during last week’s plenary, under ‘matter of urgent public importance. She said activities of the truck drivers in Apapa were not only affecting traffic in the area, but that it had extended to other parts of the state.

Tanker drivers are also crippling business activities in other parts of the state, creating and causing accidents on the Lagos roads. The Assembly insisted that the tank farms cause traffic gridlock and endanger lives of the residents.

Miranda was supported by her other colleagues who believed it was indeed time to seek a permanent solution to the issue of the gridlocks at the Apapa axis in view of the huge commercial activities that take place along that axis, and also to make life more meaningful and easier for other road users and inhabitants in that area.

According to stakeholders, the over 60 tank farms situated along the Apapa Road attract close to 10,000 tankers to the road on a daily basis thereby disrupting port operations which the area was predominantly designed for. They also urged the government to seek other ways to tackle the issue of traffic gridlock on the road to allow a breath of fresh air on port operation. The relocation of the tank farms will be a major boosts in taking the tankers off the road, reduce road accidents as well as facilitate business activities at the ports.

 

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