Nigeria: Gov’t Action Easing Traffic Gridlock around Nation's Biggest Seaport in Lagos to Boost Revenue Collection

The government of Nigeria has revealed how it has been tackling the perennial traffic gridlock at the nation's biggest seaport in Apapa area of Lagos State.


The seaport, which is one of the biggest outlets where the country is generating huge revenue has been an eyesore in the past years with marked difficulty to assess the port by the users and companies due to bad roads. This has led to loss of revenue from the seaport.


However, in 2019, the government of Muhammadu Buhari decided to solve this problem headlong by setting up a presidential taskforce headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.


Timescape Magazine notes that while some challenges are still being sorted out, significant progress is being recorded in the Apapa traffic situation according to an updated report submitted to the federal government last week.


According to Mr. Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, critical infrastructure including roads around the Apapa corridor are now at different levels of completion with some already open for public use. The latest update on efforts to fix the Apapa traffic situation was given at a virtual stakeholders’ meeting last, week chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. 


Part of the plan to address the problem in Apapa is the idea of fixing some of the roads around the area. Progress recorded in fixing the road infrastructure relative to the Apapa Traffic situation as disclosed at the meeting includes:


• Apapa Wharf road – Completed since 2018 and already in use.


• 1.4km Liverpool road – Almost completed but open for public use.


• 2.9km Creek road – Almost completed but open for public use.


• Apapa-Oshodi Expressway from Creek road to Tin Can Port gate 1 – Almost completed.


• Apapa-Oshodi Expressway from Tin Can Port gate 1 to Mile 2 – at advanced stage of completion


• Tin Can Island Transit Truck Park - Completed and now in use. 


Besides the issue of road constructions, there is also the adoption of a Call-up system for trucks at the Lagos Port which is at an advanced stage and would soon be deployed.


Speaking after listening to presentations by the various stakeholders at the meeting attended by top government officials including the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Prof. Osinbajo directed all agencies working within and around the Port to work in collaboration with the Lagos State government to intensify efforts aimed at clearing the traffic problems in the area.


At the meeting, while responding to the Vice President’s inquiry about the renovation of the rail line to the Port, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi said the Covid-19 pandemic had altered the pace of work but that work would resume soon on the rail line.


Speaking on the current traffic situation around the area, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said it was exacerbated by the temporary closure of major transit routes like Third Mainland Bridge, Eko Bridge, and several other roads.


The Executive Vice Chairman of the Presidential Task Team, PTT, Mr. Kayode Opeifa said one of the major challenges faced by the team was short demurrage timelines which forces operators to be on the roads to return containers before they start incurring fees.


“We call for the understanding of all stakeholders especially during this period of huge level of construction activities to modernize the Port access roads and infrastructure.


“The deployed traffic management system by the PTT, in addition to efforts to deploy technology by the NPA and the Shippers Council would be adequate to sustain the gains we have recorded. The era of perennial gridlock is definitely behind us,” he said.


On her part, the Managing Director of NPA, Hajiya Hadiza Usman said the agency would soon deploy the call-up system for trucks, and no truck would be expected on the roads unless called up. 


In addition to the deployment of the call-up system, the NPA MD said that the agency, in collaboration with other stakeholders, was looking at other options such as the use of inland waterways/terminals to evacuate cargo.


On the efficiency of cargo inspection at the ports, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) said three scanners approved by the federal government would soon be procured and installed at Apapa Port to improve the service’s efficiency.


He added that plans were underway to have over 300 more scanners installed at other critical entry points of the country when the National Single Trade Window comes into full swing.


Vice President Osinbajo, had during an on-the-spot visit to the area in June 2019 restated the federal government’s resolve to implement short- and long-term measures to ensure long lasting solutions to the traffic problems in Apapa and its environs.