Presidential Taskforce To Exit Apapa When NPA, Shippers Council Take Ownership – Opeifa, Explains Why Taskforce Has No Tenure …Says Gridlock Is Caused By Terminal Inefficiency, Regulatory Issues

Amah A. Amah, Lagos

The vice chairman of the Presidential Taskforce of Apapa Gridlock, Engr Kayode Opeifa has disclosed why the taskforce has no tenure in its terms of reference.

Reacting in an exclusive chat with FreightWatch on why the taskforce is still working in Apapa, Opeifa stated that the body will remain on ground in Apapa to manage the success it had achieved until the key regulators are able to ‘take ownership’ of the system and regime.

He noted that the seaport terminal operators ‘are having efficiency issues’ and the regulatory agencies were yet to do their jobs very well. “We are doing our job; they have not taken ownership,” he emphasized.

Opeifa, a former commissioner for transport in Lagos State informed that the taskforce initially had a tenure of 2 weeks to clear the gridlock caused by freight trucks; but its mandate later changed and it was renamed Presidential Taskforce on Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa.

He told FreightWatch that law and order had been restored by his taskforce and that what was found on the port access roads were holdups and not gridlocks.

According to him, smooth flow of the traffic would be achieved when ongoing construction is concluded and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is able to install the information technology systems to operate a truck callup.

He stated that once the NPA, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and other regulators take ownership of the traffic system and manage effectively, the taskforce would exit.

The logistics expert also blamed the difficulty in movement of haulage trucks on congestion of the ports and slow delivery of goods from the ports.

He observed that truck capacities of the terminals were often reached with many trucks waiting to go in, even as those inside were yet to be attended to.

“If you stay at the port gate for 2 hours, you may see only 3 trucks enter the port.” Engr Opeifa stated, stressing that efficiency of the ports is key to free flow of traffic on the port corridors.

He opined that all the terminal operators are culprit in slow rate of cargo delivery. Speaking further, Engr Opeifa said that his taskforce was collaborating with the contractor on the road presently in the Tin Can Island area to manage traffic flow.

“Presently, we close the road in the day time because of the construction work going on around Tin Can – Coconut axis; we only open the road at night for traffic flow,” he hinted.

Opeifa stated that the taskforce had restored law and order in Apapa; but it does not mean that there will not be traffic holdups.

He also stated that construction works going on in various parts of Lagos are putting pressure on accessible roads, saying that this could lead to extortion.

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