• Friday, September 29, 2023
businessday logo


NPA in talks with Lagos, Ogun govts to establish Apapa truck parks

Apapa gridlock

Worried by the difficulties experienced by cargo owners while moving their goods, especially export cargoes into the port, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it has opened discussions with the Lagos and Ogun State Governments to establish transit parks for trucks.

The truck parks, if established would enable the use of the long-awaited electronic call-up system for trucks going into the port, which in turn, would reduce the traffic congestion on port access roads caused by long queue of trucks waiting to gain access into Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports.

Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), disclosed this last week during an interactive session on Webinar tagged, ‘Non-Oil Exports: Disrupting Nigeria’s Growth Cycle’, which was organised by BudgIT.

She also stated that the authority was also concluding plans to put the truck park located at Orile Iganmu area of Lagos into use for the purpose of introducing electronic call-up system.

READ ALSO: Idle trucks cause 70% of Apapa gridlock – Council chair

According to her, NPA has made efforts to address the concerns around delays in moving export goods into the ports by facilitating the aggressive deployment of rail to link Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port, which is being championed by the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

While expressing worries over the traffic congestion on the port roads caused by lack of multimodal as 75 percent of cargo pass through the roads, Usman noted that the NPA has encouraged and licensed operators to use barges to move cargo out of the port.

Based on this, she stated that the authority went further to sign a memorandum of understanding with APMT Capital to utilise barges in the movement of cargoes out of the port.

Usman, however, stated that terminal operators have set up priority window for export cargo especially for Agric produce export.

Emphasising that rehabilitation of access roads to the ports falls under the purview of Federal Ministry of Works, she noted that access roads need to be rehabilitated for cargo to be evacuated quickly.

“There is need for all agencies to do their part effectively because the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of NPA is tied to the effectiveness of other agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Ministry of Works among others. Customs needs to provide scanners for quick examination and clearance of cargo at the port,” she said.

Usman further pointed out the need for the Single Window platform to be put in place by the NCS and its supervisory Ministry of Finance in order to eliminate manual documentation that has encouraged corruption and human interface at ports.

On his part, Segun Awolowo, executive secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said Nigeria’s non-oil export grew from USD1.7 billion in 2016 to USD3.16 billion in 2018 according to International Trade Centre, Geneva.

Awolowo, who listed major export commodities to include cocoa, cashew, sesame seeds, leather and fertilizer, stated that export services amounted to N5 billion in 2017.

He pointed out that despite these developments, Nigeria can still be termed a mono-product economy that exports mainly crude oil.

Based on this, Usman pointed out the need to encourage local investors and make domestic investment a priority. She said that as a large country of consumers, Nigeria needs to increase local production in order to earn foreign exchange through export.

“Nigerian crude shipment contributes the highest revenue of the ports. This underscores the importance of diversification of the economy through non-oil exports in order to reverse the trend,” Usman suggested.