The Lagos State Government Wednesday lamented intractable traffic congestion in Apapa Central Business District, noting that the Apapa ports were never designed for haulage trucks or articulated vehicles.
If the trio of traffic congestion, security challenges and environmental nuisances associated with Apapa must be effectively solved, the state government canvassed re-activation of the rail system.
The state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, lamented Apapa’s hydra-headed challenges at a business forum with foreign investors he addressed at the State House, Alausa, Wednesday alongside his Special Adviser on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Prof. Ademola Abass.
At the business meeting, Ambode disclosed that the Apapa ports were not originally designed for haulage trucks, noting that there was negative impact on the state roads due to what he ascribed to the failure of the port authorities to adhere to the original design of the ports.
He therefore lamented that the design and concept of the Apapa Ports “cannot actually accommodate the volume of the business the country is currently running. The ports were never designed for haulage trucks.”
He also lamented that it was not possible “to have just one seaport in a commercial capital like Lagos. Smaller ships are coming into the ports because of the shallow state of the port. It cannot actually receive big ships. So the turnaround is just too much.”
He, therefore, observed that the Federal and Lagos State Government “have decided to join forces to solve the challenge. We are looking at different initiatives including the need to disperse cargoes from the other two ports.”
He also linked the resolve to solve Apapa’s challenges to the state government’s decision to conceptualise the establishment of seaports in Lagos West (Badagry) and Lagos East (Lekki) to use the boundaries to transport the goods or containers, rather than having containerised trucks plying the main streets in the state.
He said: “We need a lot of investment in transportation and logistics. The way the Apapa road was designed was that the goods should be transported by rail from the port to the hinterlands.
“The rail system needs re-activation. So we must design and provide deeper seaport for us to have lesser ships and lesser integrations. So the idea is you either go to the East of the state in Lekki or Badagry in the West.”
“The injury on infrastructure that has been caused by that port is what you see in the city centre. Technically, you do not need to have port in the center of a city. It kills the infrastructures. We are already engaging investors.”