The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies, has urged Federal Government to empower Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to expand infrastructure at the nation’s harbours.
Adamu Ya’u, President of the Association said in Lagos, that the concession of Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports had stripped NPA of powers to enforce certain rules to develop the ports.
“For instance, terminal operators after the concessioning, carved its own demarcation. It is the responsibility of the ports authority to do that.
“With the type of fencing and demarcation one sees at Apapa and Tin- Can ports, if the authority says it wants to carry out an expansion, how would it carry it out? ” Ya’u asked.
He explained that before the concessioning, there were rail lines in the ports. Containers were evacuated through rail from Lagos to Kaduna and Kano Inland Container Terminals.
“Unfortunately after the concessioning there were no traces of the rail lines in the ports any more, they were removed,” he said.
Ya’u urged the government to give the executive management of NPA the power to expand port infrastructure.
He said that Boundary and Ajegunle areas in Lagos should be relocated to enable government achieve the port’s reforms that would meet international standards.
On the gridlock on Apapa road, Ya’u alleged that the presidential taskforce had turned the perennial gridlock to a commercial venture.
“A truck that should enter the port within an hour, will take seven to 10 days to enter the port; in fact, you have to pay heavily before entring the ports.
“When you stay at the waterfront within Tin-Can and Apapa ports, you will see naval officers piloting trucks into the ports. The traffic is not inside the port but from outside the port.
“If a professional is given opportunity to clear the port access road, it will be done,” he said.
Ya’u said that NPA had started the dredging of Warri and Calabar ports, saying that cargo clearing activities are ongoing at Warri port.
He urged shippers to make use of the available facility to reduce cost of doing business.