14 May 2015, Lagos – The Chairman, Seaport Terminals Association of Nigeria, Vicky Haastrup, has called for the suspension of delivery of petroleum products by road.
She said this in a statement on Wednesday, noting that the gridlock being experienced at Apapa in Lagos was a direct consequence of system failure in the logistic chain of the oil and gas industry.
Haastrup, who is also the Executive Vice Chairman of ENL Consortium, operators of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex Apapa, said the only way to solve the gridlock was to immediately suspend the lifting of fuel from tank farms by road.
She said, “There is an over-concentration of oil tank farms in Apapa, an area predominantly designed for port operations. There is now a situation where we have the proliferation of oil tank farms without regard to safety and logistics.
“I issued a warning over five years ago advising the government to discontinue tank farm operations in Apapa but nothing was done. The problem is now staring all of us in the face. Port operations have been brought to a virtual standstill as a result of this chaos created by tank farm and oil tankers and it does not look like anyone is doing anything drastic about it.”
Haastrup called on the relevant authorities to immediately activate the use of barges in evacuating petroleum products from the tank farms in Apapa.
She lamented the present situation where over 10,000 tankers were coming to Apapa daily to lift petroleum products.
She said, “When you add this number of tankers to the number of conventional trucks on routine maritime operations, it is not surprising that we have the kind of gridlock we are currently witnessing. Presently, there are about 60 tank farms operating in Apapa.
“Petroleum products meant for the northern part of the country should be moved to Lokoja and Baro ports by barges while the trucks collect them from there rather than coming to Apapa.
“Petroleum products meant for the South-East and South-South should be moved by barges to Onitsha Port, Warri Port, Port Harcourt Port and Calabar Port. The trucks then go to those places to pick up and distribute.”
She said the use of barges in the distribution of petroleum products would immediately reduce the number of tankers coming to Apapa to a manageable number.
She also reiterated the importance of relocating the tank farms from Apapa.
Haastrup said, “Port operators and their workers have been worse hit by the gridlock as the various operations have suffered substantial losses since the gridlock set in.
“Terminal operators, government, shipping companies, clearing agents and the entire maritime industry are hemorrhaging as a result of this unfortunate situation. The gridlock has serious and dire consequences on the economy.
“Ultimately, the incoming government should get our refineries working to reduce the nation’s dependence on importation of petroleum products.”