The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has raised fear that import and export trade could be crippled due to difficulty in executing cargo evacuation as Lekki Port commences September.
The Executive Secretary of the council, Emmanuel Jime, made this known on Tuesday at a breakfast meeting with journalists.
He explained that the situation of Apapa and Tin Can ports would be replicated in Lekki port which may cripple economic gains.
“The greatest challenge of Lekki port is cargo evacuation, which is what we are facing in Apapa and Tin Can ports, as well as bringing in cargoes because we are talking about import and export.
“We know the present condition with connections into the port. The road conditions are not encouraging, and when port operations commences by September, we are going to have a problem in Lekki port,” he warned.
Jime said he has been asking questions on accessibility of the port, for which no answers have been given, rather the government, agencies and private stakeholders involved in the project have kept mum.
He said government representatives have only been giving unrealisable promises to the media, saying there will be solutions to the road networks and other transport modality.
But the Shippers’ Council boss said, all these are mere fallacies as nothing can be done between now and the date of commencement of operations.
“I don’t see between now and September that anything fundamental would be done that would change the look and in the short term we are going to have a problem in Lekki port.
“The road network is very poor. I heard the Lagos State government and all kinds of stakeholders that are involved. With the way we are going about it, it does not appear that people are working in synergy to address the situation.”
“We need to have a synergised approach so that people know the roles to play. People say Lagos state government is supposed to do that road. When are they going to fix the road? When are we going to have the connection and when will the rail line be delivered?
“With the geography of Lagos, I just imagine how they will get the rail connected to get out of Lekki and connect to somewhere around Ibadan,” he said.
The NSC boss, however, said barging should be considered, as it is the only possible means of evacuating cargoes from the Lekki port.
“In the meantime, barges should be up and running because that is a much more certain means to evacuation than the road networks,” he said.