NPA to summon stakeholders meeting over Apapa gridlock as commuters take to ferry, train

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has joined other stakeholders to express concern over the traffic gridlock which has affected access into Apapa in the past couple of weeks.

The gridlock which is affecting the smooth delivery of cargoes at the ports is attributed to the bad access roads into Apapa, which is worsened by the rainy season and the on-going reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

The Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, who expressed the concern of the organisation on the perennial traffic gridlock on the port access roads, regretted that the situation if left unchecked could have adverse effect on the activities of both the Lagos Port complex (LPC) and Tin Can Island Port (TCIP).

He therefore called for an urgent collaborative effort by all the major stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector to address the challenge and further disclosed that NPA had initiated plans to host a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the way forward.

Reiterating the vital roles of access roads on port operation, Abdullahi expressed the commitment of NPA to cooperate and work with relevant government agencies to find lasting solution to the Apapa traffic gridlock.

The NPA boss appealed to construction companies handling construction of roads leading into and out of the ports to expedite action, adding that NPA has also embarked on remedial work of fixing the common user roads around the ports with the aim of alleviating the problem.

Meanwhile as the traffic situation in Apapa grows worse by the day, workers and commuters have started embracing other modes of transportation to get to their destinations, according to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY investigation.

Many commuters now patronise train and ferry services to get to their places of work and at much lower costs.

The ferry jetty behind Flour Mills in Apapa has become a beehive of activities as commuters throng the facility to board ferries into and out of the traffic prone port area.

Over the past three weeks, it took an average of four hours to drive from Ijora to Apapa while entering the port city from the Mile 2 end has become practically impossible.

A correspondent of SHIPS & PORTS DAILY who visited the CMS jetty of Texas connection ferry yesterday observed an unusually long queue of passengers struggling to get seats onboard ferries.

A commuter at the jetty at CMS, Augustin Nwadinamuo said he waited for over 45 minutes on the queue before he could get onto a ferry.

He said, “Though the ferry was overcrowded but I summoned the courage to be on the ferry because of the life jacket I was given to wear.

“I used ferry but have been consistently using it for the past two weeks because of the state of Apapa road.”

When our correspondent visited the Flour Mills jetty during closing hour, he also noticed long queues of workers waiting for ferries to take them back home.

A visit to the train station yesterday morning also showed a large number of workers from the mainland using the train service.

Tosin Adesanya who works at the Apapa branch of one of the first generation banks, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday at the Iddo Train Station that she was taking her first ride in a locomotive.

“This is the first time I will ever board the train and it was because of the gridlock, though Ibelieve it is faster but if normalcy returns to the road, I will go back to taking the road because I still have my reservation for the train,” she stated.

Another first timer, Hamed Olawunmi, who heads the administrative unit of a freight forwarding company in Apapa said, “I have been spending over N700 to get to Oshodi since last week due to the gridlock and that is draining my pocket.

“Also, to get home early and leave for the office early, I have no other choice than to swallow my pride and use the train.

“When I called my dad that I am on the train, he exclaimed because he has advised me to use it to save money.”

At the close of work, long queues of commuters were seen at the reception of the Apapa Train Station near the popular Airways Bus Stop.

Commuters were seen scampering for insufficient seats on board the trains.

An official of the Nigeria Railway Corporation who does not want his name in print said, “The corporation sales record in the past few weeks had increased due to the traffic situation here.”

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