Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has urged the management of APM Terminal at Apapa Port to give the right of way to Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to finish the laying of the standard-gauge rail track.
The minister underscored the need to complete the track installation aspect of the project because President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to inaugurate the project in January 2021.
“It is to enhance and ease cargo gridlock in Lagos,” he said.
Amaechi spoke, while on an oversight inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard gauge project in Lagos on Saturday.
He said that the inauguration of some terminals along the standard gauge line would not happen if the job was not completed.
“The job needs to be completed due to the fact that President Buhari will be commissioning all the terminals along the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge (rail track) in January,” he said.
Amaechi said that the project was one of the ways of finding urgent solutions to the constant gridlock along the ports area in Lagos.
“I have already informed Mr President that he will be commissioning the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway in January.
“When we finish assessing what is on ground, I will now approach Mr President on Monday, to give us a convenient date for the commissioning.
“What is critical is that we must have a solution to the gridlock, the moment we start moving cargo from Lagos ports to Ibadan though rail, the pressure on Lagos roads will reduce drastically.”
In her remarks, the Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, urged the management of APM terminal to allow access for the agreed laying of the track.
“We need to be clear, it is not for you to decide; we understand that there is need for you to continue operations and productivity in the industry.
“What is paramount is that those tracks must be laid within the time-frame,” Bala-Usman said.
Responding, Mr Jon Poelma, the Managing Director, APM Terminal, said that they had created enough exit and right of way for the construction of the standard gauge rail line into the port.
Poelma assured the government of giving the necessary support to the contractors to enable them to finish the project with the contract time-frame.