Factories groan over 5,000 trapped containers
By Godwin Oritse
INSPITE of renewed efforts by government to find solutions to Apapa traffic gridlock, there seems to be no end in sight to the menace as over 5,000 containers belonging to various manufacturing factories are currently trapped at the Tin-Can Island port.
Managing Director of an international beverage company, pleading anonymity, told journalists that his company has run out of the substitutes used in manufacturing one of its soft drinks
He stated: “We exhausted our stock and the container loads we imported arrived more than six weeks ago but have not been able to leave the port.”
Also, various traders who imported goods to sell in the Yuletide season have been caught in the traffic snare, as their commodities have been unable to leave the port. Many of such traders said they stand the risk of losing millions of Naira if they are unable to sell the goods within the Christmas.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, had last week inspected the Tin Can Island Port access road in company of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT), Dr. Magdalene Ajani; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, in an effort to find solution to the gridlock, which has crippled cargo delivery at the nation’s second busiest seaport.
Vanguard observation while monitoring the situation around Tin Can Island environs on Wednesday shows the long queue of trucks waiting to enter the port with the road from Tin Can Second Gate to Liverpool taken over by trucks trying to exit the port. The situation is not different from the Tin Can First Gate to PTML and Coconut areas.
The development has also led to a sharp rise in haulage cost by truck drivers.
A clearing agent who operates at the Tin Can Island Port, Emmanuel Onyeme, said despite the disbandment of the Presidential Task Team, the traffic situation still persists due to road blocks mounted by security and traffic management officials as well as the failure of the government to open up the completed portions of the road as promised.
This, he said, has continued to hinder free movement and exit of cargoes from the port with security operatives still collecting bribes at the check points they created around the blockades created by the contractor handling the road rehabilitation.
He said: “Cost of transportation has remained the same. As at this morning, the cost of haulage form Tin Can to Ladipo is N1.7 million because there is no road and the whole place is blocked.”
Also speaking, Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tin Can Island Chapter, Segun Oduntan, said there hasn’t been any respite on the road despite the Minister’s visit to the Tin Can Island Port last week.
He lamented the pain and frustration agents and importers are going through, especially those who have their goods trapped at the port as a result of the chaotic gridlock along the Tin Can Port corridor.
“You need to see how importers and agents are crying, especially those who have goods that are trapped at the port with the high cost of demurrage,” he said.