The congestion faced at the Lagos ports and the under utilisation of the Eastern ports would soon be a thing of the past as the Nigeria Ports Authority has confirmed in a statement last Friday that as from January 27, 2020 vessels waiting to berth within Lagos pilotage district will be diverted to other terminals.
In a statement by Jatto Adams, the General Manager, Corporate Strategic Communications, NPA said in the event that Lagos terminals cannot discharge any vessels within four days, such vessels will be diverted to eastern ports.
This development is fallout of the outcome of the reports of the House of Representatives Ad hoc committee on Port Decongestion, of which I served as a member. During our public hearings and the facility tour of all the ports in the country to ascertain the causes of decongestion at the Lagos ports and why the Eastern ports are underutilised, we assured Nigerians that the 9th House of Representatives under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila shall leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the Lagos ports are decongested and the Eastern ports put to maximum use.
Recall that this ad-hoc committee was formed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila following the motion I moved on the floor of the House of Representatives on July 16, 2019 seeking for the ‘Need to Restore the Delta, Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha Inland ports in order to decongest the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos State’.
The motion sought to put an end to the untold hardships by importers and exporters and indeed to Nigerians living in the adjoining areas of the Lagos ports, after continued concentration of ports activities at the Lagos ports resulted in congestion of the two ports such that it now takes a truck with an Authority to Load (ATL) seven to nine days to go in and out of the ports, a process that used to take a maximum of three hours.
The motion was also aimed at restoring the Delta, Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha Inland ports, otherwise known as the Eastern Ports, to maximal use, thereby increasing the economic growth of the benefiting states, while creating employment for the youths in those areas.
I am very delighted that the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and 9th House of Representatives were able to achieve this feat, which many Nigerians have long prayed to become reality.
I appreciate the sincere efforts and commitment of Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub, the Chairman of the Ad hoc committee and other members of the adhoc committee, the collaboration of NPA, Shippers Council, Nigerian Navy, and other relevant agencies who joined us during the public hearings to ensure that we made this landmark achievement for the nation.