The on-going road rehabilitation of Apapa/Oshodi expressway in Lagos has resulted in hike in cost of transporting cargoes from the ports to other parts of the country.
Aside the Yuletide festive season which is another contending factor, the truckers observed that the palliative measures along Tin Can, Coconut and Mile 2 stretch has made haulage operators relocate their businesses to other industrial communities across the South West region.
This, according to truckers who confirmed the development over the weekend, attributed the cost hike up to scarcity of trucks as a result of the ongoing road rehabilitation along the Apapa Oshodi Expressway in Lagos.
Findings further revealed that the Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) and AP. Moller Terminal (APMT) also contributed to the increased haulage cost.
Speaking on the background of the hike, Vice Chairman, Dry Cargo Section, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Inuwa Abdullahi lamented that the palliative works along the corridors contributed to high cost of transportation even as he said that most truckers have relocated their vehicles to other industrial areas of Lagos state.
Inuwa decried slow pace of the road rehabilitation by the contractors, even as he called on the government to mandate the construction company to use the festive season to redouble its effort in fixing the road before 2020, in order to reduce the stress of gridlock faced by stakeholders.
Expressing his view on the increased freight charges on consignment, Inuwa stressed that the charges will further increase before the festivities.
According to him, the road rehabilitation militated against the inflow and outflow of haulage vehicles to the port community, pointing out that the scarcity of trucks gave rise to “highest bidder takes all”.
He added that: ” At the moment twenty bidders can contact a truck owner for a single truck to move their consignment from the seaports due to scarcity of trucks; which again gave rise to highest bidder takes all.
“Again, the road construction along Coconut to Mile 2 further compounded the scarcity of trucks because movement has been restricted in that axis.
“Transport did not start and stop at the port and that is why many of truck owners have moved to other industrial areas like Ikeja, Agbara, Oregun and trade fair complex.
On the current charges, he said “The charges is now a little bit higher when compared to last month because the case we have before us is like petrol scarcity.”
“Like last month it was #300,000 as regards the terminal in question
Some are flexible while others are not. But as at now truck owner charges between N400,000 and N450,000 for the shortest distance journey within Lagos.
On his part, Secretary, Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Chapel, Comrade Godwin Ikeji argued that gridlock and road rehabilitation along the corridors contributed to increased charges on cargoes.
Ikeji explained that during the festive period, there are slight upward charges on cargoes from the ports but added that scarcity is not the issue at moment
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