President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, disclosed this at the end of a government/private sector meeting on how to resolve the Apapa traffic gridlock, presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. Dangote also disclosed to State House Correspondents that reconstruction will start on the Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway by next week.
“Apapa-Oworoshoki Way is going to start next week. Everything, including the design, have been handed over. We will start work next week.
“The bidding process is going to go on where four, five contractors will bid. Anyone who wins the contract, we will fund the project under the agreement that we have,” the business mogul said. Upon completion, Dangote said the federal government would save a lot of money as against the current loss of over N10 billion daily.
“You have to understand that Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports handle about 80 percent of cargoes that come into Nigeria. As we speak, some of our ships are waiting to come in from Lome and discharge. It is not because we don’t have anywhere to berth the ship but because all our operations are choked up, because we have containers, general cargoes that have actually been there and we are not able to remove.
“But, I am more worried about the smaller operators because for those that have imported, the charges are accumulating everyday. Transport charge has almost doubled.”
Dangote described government’s decision to decongest the ports as a step in the right direction.
Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Usman, said stakeholders agreed that the major challenge around Apapa area is the road, hence, the decision to decongest the ports.
She described access to the Apapa and Tin Can areas as “a very bad situation. We have noted that there is need to move empty containers out of that location.
“So, we have received clear directives that all empty containers need to be taken to holding bay. Shipping companies cannot have ports locations within the ports any more, so that will free a lot of traffic within the area.
“We have also noted the need for all tank farms owners to comply with the utilisation of holding bays. No more approvals of tank farms will be permitted within the Apapa area any longer. There is also full commitment of Dangote to complete the reconstruction of Apapa Wharf Road by June 2018, but palliative works will commence within the immediate period for Tin Can Island. There is decisive efforts by vice president giving clear directives on the need for us to conclude on reconstruction, the trailer park on Tin Can Island will also be reconstructed within three months, so that we can have access to holding bays and trailer parks. The NPA is also licensing access to the trailer parks and port allocations, we are issuing advertisements seeking for expression of interests of some private sectors to operate some trailer parks and holding bays within the Tin Can Island area.
“This is an emergency for us and that is why we are here to address these issues. We have seen the commitment from the Ministry of Works and the NPA will give support in anyway we can.”
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said highlight of the meeting was to appropriately define the problem which essentially was port management challenge, which is now compounded by the condition of the road.