02 February 2017, Lagos – Stakeholders in the maritime industry have urged the government to relocate tank farms from Apapa, where the nation’s busiest ports are situated.
This, they said, would reduce traffic congestion and improve the ease of doing business in the country.
The stakeholders, who spoke to our correspondent, suggested that the tank farms should be relocated to Ikorodu or a more convenient place to free up space and reduce accidents along the route to the ports.
Over 1,000 trucks are said to enter Lagos daily heading for Apapa to lift petroleum products to various parts of the country.
In addition to the heavy traffic largely caused by trucks and tankers, the access roads to the ports are in deplorable conditions and this has contributed to constant gridlock in the area.
According to the President, Association of Nigeria Licenced Customs Agents, Olayiwola Shittu, the nation loses over N5bn daily to the chaotic situation at the Apapa port.
An importer, Eddy Akwaeze, stated that the tank farms needed to be relocated, especially with the recent ban on importation of vehicles through the land borders, adding that the implication of the ban was that Apapa would have more vehicles being cleared through the ports.
He said, “One can only imagine what will happen when all the vehicles that came through the land borders are now cleared through the ports. It means there will be more congestion, tankers filled with fuel jostling for space with human beings and other vehicles.
“Fuel is highly inflammable. It will not be wise to put too many tankers carrying fuel in the same space with other vehicles and human beings as this can cause fire disaster.”
The incidents of petroleum tankers parking along the road and constituting traffic jam had compelled Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to issue a 90-day ultimatum to the 57 tank farm owners in the area to build loading bays for their trucks or he would be forced to shut down their operations.