In its drive to resolve the Traffic gridlock in the Apapa area of Lagos, which has been on the front burner for several weeks running, leading to a faceoff between truck drivers and the Lagos State Government, The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has opined that the traffic situation could be over in a few days as it has initiated desperate measures to end the crisis by reaching out to the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
Speaking on this issue, the Chairman of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogunbbemi enthused that, if all hands were on deck and everything goes according to plans, the traffic gridlock in Apapa would be reduced in a matter of days and riding in and out of Apapa would become smooth and hitch free.
Chief Ogungbemi revealed that his Association had taken urgent steps to secure alternative parking grounds, a central truck terminal as a measure of clearing the truck from along the access roads leading in and out of Apapa.
He said that the Association had already forwarded proposals both to the Lagos State Government and the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority regarding the central truck terminal initiative which they were currently working.
According to him, “We have identified a place somewhere at Mile 2. It’s about 51 acres of land. We’ve had understanding also with the management of the Trade Fair Complex, along Mile 2/Badagry Road. The facility there can accommodate up to 5, 000 trucks.
“The place at Mile 2 that I spoke about is a long term project, but that of Trade Fair is immediate. Within a week or less, we can begin to have trucks parking there and the roads will be decongested. So if we have support and approval of the State Government, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and also the support of stakeholders, we can start using those places as terminal.
“So any trucks coming to do business, instead of parking on the access road to the ports at Apapa and Tin-can, they can go there and park.”
Furthermore, the chairman reiterated that the combined input and support of relevant stakeholders and the government was key to the whole process, as it does not have the financial muscle or the political power to take it all the way.
“We’re only trying our best, but we have a limit to what we can do,” he stated. “There’re some areas where we don’t have the financial power or the political power to achieve things. But by the time we’re able to achieve the Trade Fair and Mile 2 arrangements, it will be better for every one of us.
“We have already written the Lagos State Government through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, to look into it and consider it as a way forward.”
Speaking also on the issue of truck-related accident, Ogubgbemi said that the Association had put up a monitoring team to check and ascertain that the trucks that will be carrying containers henceforth meet the required standards of the NPA and other agencies.
He said that members of the monitoring team would be on ground to compliment the efforts of what the NPA management is doing at the ports, and any truck with no standard trace-lock would not be allowed to load at the port.
“We’re working to guide against frequent falling of containers. Our task force will also be on the road to ensure that drivers are not driving under the influence of alcohol. Vehicles that have no functional headlamps would also not be allowed to load at the port,” he concluded.