Gridlock is synonymous with Nigerian ports access roads. It has defied all entreaties to solve the reoccurring malady.
The menace does not require rocket science to solve within days if political will is summoned coupled with wielding the big stick where necessary by the federal government of Nigeria.
The bad access roads to the port is one major factor that has poised migraine for port users.
This is often pointed at because it is quite visible to all. It can not be hidden.
The case of tank farms within the port arena is another monster, as several calls have been made by concerned citizens but no attendant moves because the jetties belong to powerful Nigerians who cannot be dared.
This too, requires divine intervention to get them away from where they are presently situated.
It has been advised that tank farms be discouraged from being situated in their present locations of the port environment due to the cumbersome nature of moving them, discharge their products with hose.
Other mitigating factors within the port access roads will go a long way to heal the headache of port users if they are quickly identified and nipped.
One of such problems is the establishment of bonded terminals within the port area. This issue is so serious that it records 50 percent of trucks carrying boxes and waiting endlessly on the port roads.
Some of the bonded terminals lack efficient working/handling equipment that can guarantee quick turn around. Hence, trucks wait endlessly on the roads to discharge or move boxes.
For instance, Hannover, MAN yard, DashGold, (Strips container) Soka Talamis at first gate are all situated within the stretch of Tincan port where containers are stemmed and boxes are moved by trucks.
Some of these terminals sometimes experience equipment breakdown leading to queue of trucks ostensibly coming to pick or drop containers.
Another of the ills bedevilling the traffic congestion is that some Roll on Roll off (RoRo) terminals where push and unserviceable imported cars into the port road litter the facilities before trying to get a towing van to move such vehicles far away.
Sometimes, the ramshackle vehicles may remain at the spot for weeks due to inability to get a towing van or inability to agree price with the towers.
They park unserviceable vehicles on the road before looking for towing van and if they don’t get, it remains there.
Indiscriminate influx of people into the port through the waters from Ajegunle. If this is not stopped, an end may not be seen yet of touts harassing and extorting truck drivers and innocent port users.
Some of these boys most times obstruct traffic because a truck driver refuses to part with monies for them.
They are so menacing that traffic controllers may not want to confront them.
This is so, because most of the police officers manning traffic on the port roads are not armed. They are at the mercy of their batons. So sad!
Some trucks are no longer road worthy but they still ply the port roads in search of jobs. They often break down on the road and engage the service of a mechanic to fix them up.
In the process, a lot of traffic logjam is caused and this may take a number of days to fix.
What are shanties and container housing humans doing within the entrance of the world?
These are not standard practices. They constitute nuisance and undue constraint to Port users.
The owners of private businesses should also be sent packing from the port arena.
The traffic managers too are not spared in this because they have alleged at several fora and times to extort drivers.
It is so worse that if any truck driver does not want to play ball, his vehicle will be vandalised and turned back not minding if he’s called up to pick or discharge containers.
The Lilypond experience is a very good example instance whereby hoodlums unleash mayhem and helpless security operatives have no option but to scamper for safety which led to loss a driver.
It is however imperative to note that government should be serious and be determined to proffer lasting solution to the menace of gridlock in the port environment.
Insecurity at the port arena needs to be looked into by Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), mostly as it affects Tin Can Island port in Lagos, where human traffic is a problem. The cluster of persons within first and second gates is an eyesore to the international community .
If Apapa port could succeed in the area of human control then TCIP should not be an exception.
Investigation also revealed that at least 28 units of motorbikes seized and detained by management of NPA were forcefully carted away by hoodlums who felt security apparatus was not a threat to their action.
Tin Can Island lacks solid security presence and management of NPA must rise up to the occasion to make it measure up with what is obtained in Lagos Ports Complex (LPC).
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