The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has disclosed that it is currently in talks with the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), to encourage movement of cargo by rail to and from Apapa Ports to increase the frequency of evacuation of cargoes.
The Assistant General Manager, Corporate and Communication, NPA, Ibrahim Nasiru, who disclosed this in a statement said one train movement is equal to about 70 truck movements, hence the need for multimodal haulage.
Nasiru, who appealed for cooperation and patience from stakeholders on the ports access road, said the NPA had also got approval for the movement of cargo by barges over water as alternative to road transportation.
"The Authority is therefore, not just working towards reducing congestion, but to also ensure that less pressure is put on the roads by enhancing opportunities to use other modes of transportation. The Authority is aware of the current situation on the access roads and assures all users of the ports that everything possible is being done to alleviate the situation," he said.
Nasiru explained that the dilapidated state of the road, which has gone on for almost two decades has become a thing of concern to everyone transacting business in the Apapa area of Lagos, including the Authority, whose prime facilities are located in this axis.
"This accounts for the Authority's decision to collaborate with other stakeholders who agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, to reconstruct the entire Wharf Road. These stakeholders include the Nigerian Ports Authority, Dangote Group, and Flour Mills Plc.
"Although the repair of roads is not the statutory responsibility of the Authority, it has committed the sum of N1.8billion to the reconstruction of the Wharf Road and contractors from Messers AG Dangote Construction Company, were mobilised to site in July 2017.
"As a result of this, the stretch of road for the outbound lane (Ijora Bridge-Barracks Junction) has been condoned off as work has commenced.
"In anticipation of the congestion that the current reconstruction was bound to cause, the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, had set up a committee then chaired by the General Manager, Western Ports on the decongestion of Port access roads.
"This committee included representatives of the Lagos State government, the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Ports Police Command, and Department of State Security Services and other major stakeholders including truckers, as mainly represented by the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO).
"To further alleviate the envisaged congestion, the Authority awarded the contract for palliative works on Creek Road to Messers CGC Nigeria Limited.
"Palliative works was carried out on the damaged portion of the roadway and is now designated an alternative route in and out of the Lagos Port Complex.