By Steve Agbota
As the Apapa gridlock continues to worsen by the day, importers and manufacturers have lamented an estimated 500,000 containers laden with raw materials meant for Christmas sales and production currently trapped in the Tin Can Island Port.
This was as they decried about 44 vessels also trapped at the Lagos anchorage area where they could not berth due to congestion at the ports in spite of renewed efforts by the Federal Government to decongest the port access road.
Daily Sun learnt that the perennial gridlock at the port access road has raised the cost of haulage. According to them, moving trucks moving containers from Tin Can Port to Ladipo costs about N1.5 million while those going to Alaba International and Computer Village Ikeja collect between N1.6 million and N1.8 million.
Managing Director of an international beverage firm who spoke with newsmen on condition of anonymity, said that his company has run out of the substrate used in manufacturing one of its soft drinks. “We exhausted our stock and the container loads we imported arrived more than six weeks ago but have been unable to leave the port,” he lamented.
Several other importers who brought in goods to sell at Christmas season have been caught in the traffic menance as their commodities have been unable to leave the port, and are now at the risk of losing millions of Naira should they fail to sell the goods before Christmas.
Meanwhile as part of measure to clear the gridlock at the Tin Can and Apapa ports, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that 200 security officers would be deployed to the route. Amaechi, who addresed stakeholders and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Lagos, recently said part of the duties of the security officers is to ensure trucks do not park on the roads.
In a statement issued by the Minister’s Media Assistant, Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, the maritime workers union had threatened to go on strike if the government failed to address the gridlock on the route.