Importers say conversion of Lilypond to Truck Park will worsen Apapa gridlock
Following the current campaign from some quarters to transform Lilypond Container Terminal Ijora, Lagos into a truck park, group under the aegis of the Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA) has faulted the campaign, saying that conversion of the terminal to Truck Park will worsen the already bad Apapa traffic gridlocks.
Godwin Onyekazi, president of the group, who confirmed that using Lilypond as a truck park will worsen Apapa traffic gridlock, said that Lilypond does not have the capacity to serve as a truck park.
According to him, Lilypond is a container depot established to handle the overflow from the seaport. The terminal, he said, is now being used as an export processing centre from where the Federal Government intends to drive agricultural export.
“Audu Ogbeh, minister of Agriculture recently flagged off yam export at Lilypond. So, in addition to being an overflow container depot, the terminal is also an export processing centre, meaning that it is also a very important centre to Nigeria’s economic diversification drive.”
Explaining further, he said, that the location of Lilypond, which is close to the entrance of Apapa on the Dockyard road and Ijora-Wharf axis, will give room for chaos in traffic management. “The entire place will be in a lockdown, making it totally impossible to enter or exit Apapa.”
Onyekazi however called on the Federal Government to go back and implementation the existing Apapa regeneration plan, which was developed in 2014 during former president GoodLuck Jonathan administration.
“A feasibility study was jointly carried out by the Federal and Lagos State governments on how to eliminate the perennial traffic gridlock in Apapa. This gave birth to the Apapa regeneration plan, which includes the construction of an ultramodern truck terminal and the reclaiming of government’s right of way on Creek Road and Apapa road. We believe the implementation of this plan will provide a holistic solution to the Apapa traffic problem,” he suggested.
Onyekazi also called on the government to complete work on the truck park opposite Tin-Can Island Port and also compel tank farm operators and shipping companies to have holding bays to take trucks off the roads.
“The major problem we’re facing right now is that the roads in and out of Apapa are very bad; one lane of Wharf road is currently shut for repairs; yet, trucks and tankers are coming from all over the country without anywhere to park before it is their turn to enter the port.
“Our members pay the punitive cost that comes from the problems. We pay more to hire trucks; we pay more in demurrage and storage charges, which arise from delays in clearing our cargo. This is apart from the losses we suffer due to long turnaround time of the funds deployed in importing goods,” he lamented.
Tony Anakebe, a maritime analyst, who is very conversant with the situation in Apapa, bemoaned the total abandonment of near completed truck Transit Park in Tin-Can. He said that the problem with Apapa gridlock is not only about rebuilding the failed roads nor about converting Lilypond to Truck Park, but about government using a holistic approach to solve the problem.
“Government needs to build Transit Park for trucks coming to Apapa, rebuild the roads and mandate shipping companies and tank farm owners to build container holding-bay and trailer parks,” he added.
Big Read |