The World Bank has indicated its willingness to assist Nigeria’s maritime sector with $40 million.
The Nigerian Shippers Council said the fund is expected to be used to clear the traffic gridlock along ports access roads in Apapa, Lagos.
The Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, who spoke in Abuja yesterday at a press briefing, said the move was aimed at making the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) more efficient.
He also said it will also ensure that oil pipelines were used to transport petroleum products rather than using tankers.
He said: “No matter how efficient the terminal is, if you don’t have the road to evacuate cargo, how will you move your goods out of the ports? So there must be an intervention and in that regard, the NSC has introduced NAFITH to NPA.
“Now NAFITH, an international finance corporation which is an arm of the World Bank, is bringing $40million to put an end to the traffic situation in Apapa.
“The fund is meant to improve logistics around the Apapa, Tin Can and Orile areas where every time, there are over 5,000 trucks on that axis. But what are they doing there? What we need is about 1,500 trucks in Apapa vicinity logistically, but you find about 5,000. So what are the other 3,500 trucks doing? They are doing nothing.
“So, the idea is to have an electronic passage where a truck is in Apapa only when it is needed to pick or drop cargo. The tankers too don’t need to be there for the pipelines will do the transportation of products. The moment we have the pipelines pumping to Mosimi and other flow stations, then we don’t need the tankers in Apapa. So all these things are what the World Bank is coming to do in order to solve, once and for all, the gridlock in Apapa.”
Bello also urged the Federal Government to support agencies in the sector in making the ports more efficient in their various operations, adding that one major way to achieve this was by automating the facilities.