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Build more ports to end Apapa gridlock, Salvador advises

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A leading stevedoring operator, Hon. Moshood Salvador, says the only way to overcome the nerve-breaking gridlock at Apapa, Lagos, is to build more ports and expand existing ones.

Salvador, who is Chairman of a firm, Dock Management Nigeria Ltd., gave the advice while speaking in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Tuesday.

Apapa, home to Nigeria’s major sea ports has been locked down by gridlock over the years, a development that has made access to the ports near impossible.

According to him, while the volume of cargo at the ports is increasing, the facilities have not increased.

Salvador, who is also a chieftain of the APC, noted that the volume of cargo at the nation’s ports kept increasing from what it was in the 70s.

He said the volume of cargo at the ports grew sharply in the 80s; went up in the 90s and hit an all-time high from year 2000.

“This is not to talk of the volume of cargo handled by the ports in 2020.

“Do not forget that the population of the people keep increasing and the businesses are getting wider every day.’’

Salvador, however, expressed his optimism that once the Badagry Port is completed and existing ones expanded, the gridlock at Lagos ports would cease.

According to him, the beauty of having a port in Badagry is that roads will be constructed to link the LagosIbadan Expressway to Badagry.

He described the gridlock as unfortunate, saying that in the meantime, port operators would have to contend with the problem.

Salvador pointed out that for now, the only palliative would be to maximise technological support at the ports, to facilitate operations and reduce the gridlock.

NAN reports that Nigeria’s first deep seaport at Lekki, Lagos is expected to commence operations in less than 30 months from now.

The deep seaport was conceptualised to develop general cargo handling at Nigerian ports with a view to enhancing Nigeria’s gross domestic product.

Salvador also urged government to fight corruption and tackle acts of indiscipline at the ports to hasten cargo clearance.

The APC stalwart frowned at situations where containerised goods and cars genuinely cleared from the ports were being queried by some officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on various highways in the country.

He wondered why NCS officials should be stopping owners of goods already cleared at the ports.

On complaints about too many government agencies at the ports which allegedly gave rise to high cost of cargo clearance, the dock labour employer noted that some agencies must inevitably be at the ports.

Edited by: Silas Nwoha

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