THE Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) has urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to take advantage of the total lockdown in Lagos to decongest the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports and ease the traffic gridlock.
President of SALS, Rev Jonathan Nicol told National Light that the NPA at this time also needs to be commended for its actions and for being proactive in recent times.
Recall that as part of cushioning the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on business activities, the NPA had directed terminal operators and shipping companies to stop collecting demurrage charges for the next fourteen days.
The NPA in a statement released on Monday also assured that the ports would keep working, despite the total lockdown pronouncement of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The statement reads “Consequent to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that Lagos seaports, (Apapa and Tin can Island Ports) should remain open in the duration of the two-week lockdown of Lagos State, the Nigerian Ports Authority hereby assures all stakeholders that arrangements have been made for operations at the ports to continue without hinderance.
“Safety procedures, which will guarantee the wellbeing and security of stakeholders and staff have been put in place and all are advised to kindly comply with directives of port officials.
“All other government agencies responsible for smooth operations in the ports are enjoined to be at their respective duty posts to discharge their functions in line with the presidential directive of maintaining operational functions at the Lagos ports.
“The management of the Nigerian Ports Authority assures all stakeholders of its commitment to facilitation of trade in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, SALS President, Rev Jonathan Nicol advised the NPA that this is the best time to evacuate containers from the ports since the roads would now be very free for the trucks to move out.
He told our correspondent that “The Nigerian Ports Authority has been proactive in recent times and we commend them for their efforts”
“The Coronavirus virus is the beginning of self control. The two weeks partial lockdown should help to decongest the Ports and eliminate the protracted Apapa traffic jam by supervising the evacuation of empty Containers, massively”
“We hope the Apapa traffic will disappear after the 2 weeks lockdown. The Federal Government Agencies should assist the Nigerian Ports Authority to achieve this objective”
“The Port Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Transportation should synergies to curtail the dreaded Coronavirus within the trading Port complexes” he said.