The ongoing reconstruction work on Creek Road and Liverpool Road in Apapa, Lagos, may have compelled the Presidential task force on Apapa gridlock to force the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to temporarily open the Tin Can Island truck transit park to ease the perennial gridlock along the port access road.
SHIPS & PORTS gathered that the presidential task force managing the Apapa gridlock has directed that the transit park be opened to take trucks off the roads, though the park is yet to be completed and officially handed over to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The truck park has been under construction for more than ten years.
The project has, however, suffered delay despite repeated assurances by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing that it would be completed in April 2019.
When SHIPS & PORTS visited the park on Wednesday, empty containers and export-laden trucks were parked indiscriminately as it appeared no one was regulating the parking arrangement, even as some trucks were seen exiting the facility.
Few workers were also seen on site but not working on the facility except for one of them who was busy casting concrete. The toilet facility also appeared completed but was under lock and key.
When contacted, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Adedamola Kuti, confirmed that the park has been temporarily opened on the orders of the task force even though construction work is still ongoing.
He said the opening of the park was delayed due to the construction of the fence, shoreline protection and electrical works.
“We have not completed the truck park; we are still working on it. We are just getting to the finishing end but because of the Apapa gridlock, they (the taskforce) decided to start making use of it to park some trucks to decongest Apapa but it is not as if we have finished it. We are rounding up and getting towards the end,” he said.
When asked if he could give a time frame for the completion of the park, Kuti said, “I may not be able to give a definite time but we are coming towards the end. The project is substantially completed. The only outstanding work we have there is to complete the fence and the shoreline and some electrical work.
“We deliberately stalled the shoreline protection because if we complete it, we may not be able to fence some areas because once we complete the shoreline, we complete the fence and once you put a fence, you cannot complete the other work. So we deliberately left certain things to be able to address some works,” he told SHIPS & PORTS.
Also commenting on the development, NPA spokesman, Adams Jatto said, “When the task force came and discovered that the gridlock was at the peak, they had to get that place open. They keep on telling us every two weeks that the work will be completed and we discovered that nothing is being done. That was why the task force ordered the trucks to move in there.
“We are still trying to see how we will get it commissioned formally so that we can get it into proper use. The ultimate goal is for us to have a kind of electronic call up system and we are equally working towards that,” Jatto said.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, had asked that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to hand over the Tin Can trailer park to the authority to complete the shoreline protection.