The way forward may be injurious to other people but we have to look at it holistically. Since the inception of tank farmsin Apapa, the gridlock has worsened.The government should fix the road and control the number of trucks/trailers that goes into the port. There is a need for holding bays outside Apapa area for trucks to stay before they are called into the port.The federal government should also look inward and see the possibility of relocating the tank farm to probably Badagry or Ikorodu apart.
Time has come for us to use alternate means of transportation and that is moving cargoes, containers to other ports in the country; the port should be made a transit place. The government needs to start thinking of similar jetty outside Lagos where oil tankers can discharge their products; some of the oil tankers can go either to Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt to reduce the number of tankers that come to Apapa. The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) should deploy enough barges to start moving cargo, working 24/7 and they should provide security if they can.Even when Dangote finishes the construction of the road and the truck park built by Liverpool is functional, I can assure you it won’t be more than two years, gridlock will arise again. Government must demonstrate and show leadership through policy formulation that will drive the transport and sector;also our waterways should be used for the transportation of cargoes so that there will be fewer vehicles overstretching the road usage.
There is need for the Federal government to continue ensuring that petroleum cargoes coming into Lagos State are diverted to other ports across the country because the state is already congested.Ports in other states should also be fully developed to absorb more of the traffic load.The tank farms should be relocated from Apapaand the ports can be connected to the rail systems in order to ease traffic and petroleum products should be circulated in the country through the use of pipelines and barges.
I know of an arrangement that is going on which is an exercise that hascommenced Friday midnight which was put in place by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Multi-Agency Task Force and Truck Associations and Unions to bring sanity to Apapa road. The plan is to put the trucks/tankers in some places that have been secured to be used as holding bay for empty containers and the second plan has to do with electronic call-up system and not dialogue, a system that will send an alert which serves as a text message to the truck driver to let him know the time and date the truck will be allowed into the port and all stakeholders will also be on that platform to ease trucks/tankers off the road. These are the ways I feel sanity can be brought to our roads.
The only way forwardis to relocate the tank farms. The tank farms attract thousands of trucks to Apapa on a regular basis and the only viable solution to the problem is to relocate the tank farms to another location.There must be immediate suspension of the evacuation of petroleum products from Apapa by road and the authorities must immediately activate the use of barges in petroleum products evacuation. Petroleum products meant for the northern part of the country should be moved to Lokoja and Baro ports by barges while the trucks collect them from their rather than coming to Apapa. Also, petroleum products meant for the South East and South-So
uth should be moved by barges to Onitsha, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar ports. The trucks then go to those places to lift fuel and distribute.This is the way to go and this will immediately reduce the number of tankers coming to Apapa to a manageable number.