The Chairman of Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Musa Mohammed has said that more than 400 trucks have left Apapa and Tincan port in Lagos in the past one year due to the poor state of access roads which are yet to receive Federal Government’s attention.
The RTEAN boss disclosed in a chat with journalists in Apapa, Lagos, saying majority of RTEAN members had left the truck business and delved into other ventures because they could no longer cope with the bad roads situation.
He said the problem of the poor access in and out of Apapa, home of Nigeria’s premier port was affecting his members as containers keep falling daily.
Musa who was represented by the state’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Comrade Abayomi Afini, said RTEAN had written several letters to the National Assembly, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to seek government’s attention over the situation but government has not responded.
“Two years ago FERMA came, surveyed the area and took some palliative measures which were washed off by the rains. The poor access roads to the port require a standard construction that will last long,” Musa said.
Chairman, RTEAN, Tin Can Chapter, Isiaka Olalere also complained of how the dilapidated roads have affected their trucks, a situation he said, was making its members to sell off their trucks as scraps.
“We are going out of the business gradually, because if you go to trailer parks, you will see truck owners cutting their trucks into parts and selling them. A truck owner with seven trucks last cannot boast of two due to the bad and dilapidated access roads. It is affecting our business seriously.
He however, discarded the allegation that the members of the association park their trucks indiscriminately thereby denying other road users access to the road.
He said the reason why trucks litter the roads was because the terminal operators refuse to provide trucks bays for them coming to return empty containers, as well as the failure of government to provide parking lot for trucks coming into the ports.
“The problem does not lie on us transporters but with the terminal operators. if you see containers lying from first gate to second gate, from Apapa to Ijora, that is the problem of terminal operators and again, we don’t have holding bays, even the shipping companies do not have functional holding bays.
“If there is a functional holding bay, after offloading, you go to a particular place to drop the empty container. That is not available, you must bring your empty container back to the port and we are not happy about that.
“Truck terminal is not available except the one under construction which nobody knows when they are going to complete, that is why you see our trucks littered on the roads. It is not our making and sometimes they tell you that their servers are not working, Afini added.