On July 9, 2012 ? In Finance

By Godfrey Bivbere

Managing Director of Greenview Development Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Issa Baba Burka, has called for a joint effort by the stakeholders in the maritime industry and the government to create a holding bay as a permanent solution to the problem of perennial traffic congestion in Apapa.

In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, Burka noted that several attempts had been made in the past to eliminate the perennial traffic congestion but it has not been successful because trailers are integral to port operations.

According to Burka, ?Whatever you do, those trucks are an integral part of port operations, we need them but as it is now, there is no truck park around Apapa or around the precincts of Tin-can. ?The only permanent solution will be to look for a truck park so that you can introduce the call-up system; because the trucks must wait to take cargo. But the highway is not the place for them to wait. So therefore, the government, stakeholders, transport owners must look for a truck park that can accommodate all the trucks so that you can introduce the call-up system.?

On the clearance of wrecks from the nation?s waterways, Burka who was a former Port Manager of the then Container Terminal Port, CTP with the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, said that both the NPA and the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, have done well for their efforts so far.

In his words, ?They have done a lot. In fact, there is no impediment to shipping now. There may be some here and there but I think both the NPA and NIMASA have done a lot, especially NPA. They have done a lot clearing the highways, removing the wrecks around the waterways.?

The GDNL boss said that there has been a lot of development since the concessioning of the nation?s port terminals. He pointed out that all the issues concerning ship-turn around period, cargo delivery, terminal developments etc have seen a lot of development.

?The concession really brought in a lot of efficiency to the ports system. It has brought in: business-like developments to the ports; a lot of infrastructural and personnel development. ?From my own terminal for example, the ship- turnaround time has now reduced from over 10 ? 15 days to just about five to six days.?

Asked to comment on the areas that need improvement in the concession agreement between government and the concessionaires, Burka explained that ?port operations are dynamic and that it is possible to do one thing today and by tomorrow it has changed. So you have to do another thing.

In terms of overall ports development concept in this country, you know Apapa and Tin-can ports in Lagos are overstretched. There is no room for expansion. You have urban encroachment too. No matter what you inject into that system, the problem will remain,? he added.

?One of the major solutions that can bring about overall efficiency will be new ports development; to develop ports outside. Already they are talking about Lekki port and other ports,? he concluded.

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