Terminal operators have called for the deployment of large contingent of traffic and security officials in Apapa port area to ease traffic flow during the ongoing rehabilitation of Ijora -Wharf road.
Mrs Vicky Haastrup, Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), made the call in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.
Haastrup said that the inadequate number of traffic officials to ensure free flow of traffic during the closure of Wharf Road was “a recipe for chaos”.
“The closure of a lane of the road is bound to take a toll on traffic flow and that is why an effective traffic management system is the solution to the current gridlock.
“We have noticed that anytime a section of the road is closed, everywhere is clogged. The entire port environment is paralysed.
“This has a telling effect on the ports because trucks which are inside the port will not be able to come out.
“If the trucks inside do not come out to free the space inside the various terminals, trucks on the road will not be able to go in and that is how the chaos builds up,” Haastrup said.
She said the situation could be brought under control by deploying security and traffic control officials to work in shifts to ensure round-the-clock traffic flow.
“The control has to happen 24 hours a day to ensure free flow of traffic. Security operatives must also be deployed to support the traffic control officers at all times.
“If we do not ensure free flow of traffic while the road repair lasts, port congestion might be inevitable.
“Port congestion is certainly not what Nigeria can afford at this difficult economic time.
“Port congestion will result in vessel queues – which is already happening – and this comes at a huge cost to the Nigerian economy,’’ she said.
Haastrup also tasked the Federal Government on the development of alternative modes of transport, such as rail and pipeline to reduce pressure on the roads.
“While we commend the Nigerian Ports Authority and the private sector for the repair of the severely-damaged Ijora -Wharf Road, we must emphasise the need to ensure free flow of traffic while the repair lasts.
She said that there is the need to relocate tank farms from Apapa in the long run.
“It is wrong to have populated the port environment with such large number of tank farms.
“It is part of the problem that government should eventually find solution to,” Haastrup said. (NAN)