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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Truckers’ association seeks seamless cargo evacuation at Lekki Port

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By Chiazo Ogbolu

Lagos, Nov. 10, 2022 (NAN) Members of the Amalgamation of Maritime Truck Owners Association of Nigeria have urged the management of Lekki Deep Seaport to ensure a coordinated approach to truck movement at the port.

The association’s coordinator, Mr Remi Ogungbemi, during a visit to the port on Thursday, noted that such approach would prevent gridlock.

According to him, a coordinated approach to trucking will ensure seamless cargo evacuation when commercial operation begins next month.

Ogungbemi, however, said cargo evacuation from the Lekki port would still be a challenge due to the poor roads leading to the port city.

He urged the Lagos State government to ensure that the roads were expanded and completed as quickly as possible to avert the traffic challenges similar to the one being experienced at Apapa and Tin Can ports.

“The purpose of our visit is to get ourselves familiar with the facilities, especially where it has to do with movement of trucks in and out of the port.

“We also want to know the provisions made for trucks that are coming to the port,” he said.

Ogungbemi described the Lekki seaport project as a game changer for the Nigerian economy.

“What we saw here is the first of its kind. We don’t have such infrastructure in any of our ports. We have not seen such before in Nigeria. It is, indeed, a game changer,” he said.

Another trucker, Mr Ridwan Bello, said there was need to have adequate truck parks around the port corridor that would match the volume handled at the port.

Bello said due to heavy traffic flow in the Lekki-Epe axis occasioned by poor access roads, truckers might consider night movement of trucks before the road construction was completed.

He urged the state government to create a dedicated lane for trucks upon completion of the road to reduce gridlock in the axis.

“Our basic concern is the access road and truck park facility. If you look at the Ajah to Lekki road it is in a bad shape so you can imagine the chaos when trucks start coming to the port.

“This is why we are proposing night movement for our trucks. From Eleko to Epe, there is a dedicated lane for trucks so we are also suggesting that there should be a dedicated lane for trucks from Lekki to Ajah,” he said.

Also, the Chief Operating Officer, Lekki port, Mr Laurence Smith and Head of Regulatory and Procurement, Mr Daniel Odibe, who received the team assured that the challenges of gridlock experienced at the Apapa ports would not be the case at the Lekki port.

They assured that the operations at the port would be streamlined and fully automated.

Odibe also said to ensure smooth evacuation of cargo, the management of the Lekki port had put in place a truck parking area with a capacity for 250 trucks.

“The trucks will be required to park at the truck parking area until they are called up into the port through a booking system.

“The port itself has a pre-gate area that can hold about 250 trucks until they are ready to be serviced. So, we are sure that we will have a good turnaround of trucks.

“With the road network going east of Lagos, we have newly constructed six lane roads leading to Epe all the way to Shagamu. There are a couple of options for truckers if they don’t want to go back to Lagos from the Lekki axis.

“We also expect that the Nigerian Ports Authority in conjunction with other parties can have truck parks outside the port to help marshal the trucks before coming into the port area,” he said.

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