Apapa gridlock: Haulage cost rises by 360 per cent

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Anna Okon

Port users have raised the alarm over about 360 per cent hike in haulage cost in the last three weeks, resulting from the current traffic logjam being experienced along the Lagos ports access routes.

Our correspondent gathered on Monday that it cost business owners about N600,000 to transport a 40-feet container of goods from the APM Terminal in Apapa to Ibafo, a distance of just about 89 kilometres. Before now, it used to cost between N130,000 and N190,000.

Similarly, importers were being charged N450,000 to move a 40-feet container of goods from the PTML terminal in Tin Can Island Port to Ibafo, a distance of just about 68.1km.

Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent, on Monday, the Chief Executive Officer, Damatrix Logistics, Dotun Oluyori, said N450, 000 was only being charged for transporting goods from Tin Can Island, adding that the haulage cost was higher for goods being taken from one of the terminals in the main Apapa port, such as APMT  to Ibafo.

The Secretary, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Ikeji, told our correspondent that the cost of transporting cargo from Tin Can port to Alaba International market was N420, 000/40ft container as against N100,000 previously charged.

For goods going to Ibadan, according to Oluyori, the haulage cost ranges from between N800,000 and N900, 000/40ft container; while goods going up North attract a haulage cost of between N1.2m and N1.5m.

Haulage cost for trucks going up North was given as between N800,000 and N900, 000 three weeks back.

“The increase is alarming when compared to the haulage cost within Lagos in June and July of 2017, which was just N40,000 for 40-feet container. Goods going out of Lagos attracted N60,000,” said another source at the port.

While it took trucks up to four days in June/July 2017 to exit the port, our correspondent learnt that the gridlock had raised it to an average of 21 days.

Matters came to a head last month when the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, ordered a 72-hour joint operation to restore order in Apapa and its environs after truck drivers caused gridlock and made vehicular movement impossible in Lagos.

Following the order, there had been a flurry of activities and the rush to get goods out had caused some confusion with drivers adopting the ‘highest bidder’ policy while attending to desperate customers, Oluyori said.

 The situation in the port became very bad when construction work commenced on the 2km Wharf/Apapa road in May.

The project, jointly handled by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Nigerian Ports Authority, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Dangote Industries at an estimated cost of N4.34bn is meant to restore free flow of traffic to the area.

It necessitated shutting off a section of the road, hence the difficulty in accessing the narrow stretch of road by thousands of trucks and tankers as well as motorists accessing the area on a daily basis.

The cost to businesses is paralysing, according to the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, who had estimated that businesses lost N86bn daily to the traffic menace in Apapa.

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