By Joy Enamuna
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has again lamented that the terminal operators are frustrating the efforts of the Federal Government to get rid of the Apapa gridlock.
Amaechi said this has led to inability of the Federal Government to decongest the ports which has immensely led to the unabated Apapa gridlock.
Amaechi who spoke at the unveilling of the Deep Blue Sea project at the Eko Hotel in Lagos said the government fought strenuous battles to get fund for the rail project. It has been serious battle to get fund for the rail project.
“And another gigantic battle we fought was in getting the terminal operators to allow the trains lift containers to various destinations from the Lagos sea ports.
According to the Minister: “Before now it took me and my team the grace of God to convince these concessionaires to relocate buildings from the rail tracks. Some of them have still not remove some of the structures”.
“As soon as these rail operators start moving containers out in batches, ports access roads will be decongested, then Traffic Management and Manual process will be well coordinated.
“Moreso, there would decongestion at physical examination of cargoes by the Customs . But because this Seaport Terminal Operators are benefiting from this challenges, hindring
Nigerians Shippers, they will not want to release containers to rail operators to move out of the ports.
“Federal government is spending huge amount of money to make the ports access roads functional. The Nigerian Ports Authority has various security men at check points to put the truck drivers under control”.
He said that most of the trucks are at approved packs where the truck drivers get gate pass before they exit the packs”.
“Terminal operators are not helping the Federal Government to facilitate trade, they are just making money for them selves then later take it to their country.
“They are making a lot of money from demurrage, deliberate delaying of containers at the terminal for months, he added.