15 November 2017
By Ugonnabo Ngwu
President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, says the Federal Government is losing over N10 billion everyday to the Apapa Wharf gridlock, even as he disclosed that reconstruction will commence on the Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway by next week.
He made this known on Tuesday at the end of a government/private sector meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was called to explore ways to resolve the Apapa traffic gridlock.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the industrialist said: “Apapa-Oworoshoki Way is going to start next week. Everything, including the design, has been handed over. We will start work next week.
“The bidding process is going to go on where four, five contractors will bid. Anybody that wins the contract, we will fund the project under the agreement that we have.”
He said when completed, government will save money rather than the present situation where it loses over N10 billion daily.
Dangote added: “You have to understand that Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports handle about 80 per cent of the 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 ships 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 every day. Transport charge has almost doubled.”
Dangote lauded government’s decision to decongest the ports as a step in the right direction, and expressed hope that Nigerians will begin to a see a massive change by next week.
Also speaking, Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Usman, stated that stakeholders unanimously agreed that the major challenge around Apapa area is road congestion.
According to her, “We have noted that there is a 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 anymore, 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.
“We are embarking on that within the shortest period and we appeal to the exporters to work with us in traffic management, we are instituting strong task force that will manage the traffic inflow and outflow within the Apapa and Tin Can Island environ.
“This is an emergency for us and that is why we are here today to address these issues. We have seen the commitment from the Ministry of Works and the NPA will give support.”