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Articulated vehicle drivers count losses as Apapa gridlock persists

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FG restates commitment to trailer park, Apapa road completion

Some articulated vehicle drivers in Lagos on Monday counted their losses as the gridlock to the ports in the Apapa area of Lagos State continued unabated.

The drivers said that some of them have spent up to six days with either empty or loaded cargoes on their vehicles, while in traffic.

The drivers, who spoke in interviews with our correspondent said the provision of more spaces by the Port Terminal Operators would, however, improve the situation.

Mr Godfrey Ibe, who drives a 40-ft container vehicle, told our correspondent that the situation was sapping into the daily incomes of the drivers, stressing that even their haulage charges often times got finished within the traffic.

“I have been on this particular spot since Sunday, with no hope of getting to the loading point in the next two days, after spending two days already in the traffic.

“Although we have jacked-up the charges for transporting cargoes by 40 per cent, the whole money is being wasted on the Apapa gridlock as more gasoline is being expended in the traffic,’’ Ibe said.

Another driver, Mr Ikechukwu Nzekwe, said that the traffic has become a nightmare as the thought of going to Apapa now unsettles him.

“The last time I took a container to the Trade Fair Complex was two weeks ago, and I have an ugly tale of that venture as I did not make any profit from the trip.

“I then decided to park my vehicle for a week, thinking that the traffic would subside, but it has yet to.

“I came out today due to coercion from the vehicle owner for me to go and load but here I am staring at the mirage of countless vehicles locked-up in traffic, without any solution in sight.

“It will be baseless for me to continue to waste the little I get from my trips in traffic, while my children go to sleep with empty stomachs.

“It is not good at all as a family man and a driver; my earnings depend on the number of trips I am able to make, so the situation where I will be delayed in dropping off an empty container for days is really tormenting,’’ Nzekwe said.

The drivers, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to prevail on the terminal operators to make provision for more spaces in their terminals, in order to stem the trend.

For Mr Elvis Agada, a Freight Forwarder with Edge One Maritime Services Ltd, told our correspondent that the situation in the last three months has been pathetic, adding that it had made the clearing business unattractive and turbulent.

“We are the ones feeling the pinch as delivery of cargoes to importers is no longer easy, in spite of the high charges by drivers, we still have trouble with clients on the time frame.
“The authorities should respond quickly to save our economy from collapsing.

“The government is championing economic diversification from oil and the Maritime Sector is a veritable means of doing that. Therefore the facilities to spur this should not in any way be trivialised.

“If we really want to promote business in the sector, in order to attract more investment, there is need to get the infrastructure up and running.

“But in our own case, the regulatory bodies have gone to sleep, leaving all and sundry to do as they wished. That is the bane of this industry,’’ he said.

Our correspondent reports that Mr Remi Ogundemi, Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), has been appealing to the authorities for the construction of Truck Holding Bays, to alleviate the Apapa traffic logjam.

Articulated Vehicle Drivers Count Losses As Apapa Gridlock Persists

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