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Council says absence of master plan responsible for port city traffic gridlock

The absence of a master plan, and non-reservation of
areas for possible port expansion, particularly not designating area five
kilometres from the port as port corridors have been blamed for traffic
congestion in Apapa.

Chief Kunle Folarin, the Chairman, Nigerian Ports
Consultative Council (NPCC) disclosed this in an interview in Lagos.

 “What we could
have got from the beginning is a master plan. There was no master plan for the
port 30-40 years ago.

“There would have been reservations for possible
expansion of the port, and when you talk about the port, you are not alone
talking about key aprons or the fenced area that you call the port.

“The port is five kilometres from the port gate; five
kilometres from the port gate is a recess corridor of the port. The port
corridors must have included and be seen in a master plan,” he said.

According to Folarin, the Apapa port must have been
conceived as an import end to traffic alone.

He said in that vein, industrial bases were conceived
to enable businesses get their raw materials fast from the port to their factories
and plants, thereby encroaching on the immediate port environment with
small-scale industries.

He added that as the areas developed into a commercial
centre for trading, residential areas came up limiting a possibility of
expansion for the port beyond how it was in the beginning.

 “There was
encroachment for industry, for residential and commercial enterprises, so, how
do you expand the port.

“The port that was receiving a maximum of 33million
metric tons of cargo; import and export in the early ‘70s suddenly blew to 140
to 150 million metric tons for import and export.

“So, how do you accommodate the traffic that will
bring the export, the traffic that will evacuate the import, while land is inelastic
as in economic principle?”

He concluded that until corridors are created for the
port, the traffic situation in Apapa may remain the same for a long time.

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