Seaport terminal operators at Apapa and Tin Can Island ports seized the opportunity of the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki’s tour of the ports, to point out collapsed and expired port quay walls, decayed infrastructure and security threats.
While addressing the Minister during the tour, the Managing Director of Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), Mr. Etienne Rocher observed that since the first quarter in 2017, TICT carried out a study that showed that the port quay had expired.
His words: “An incident occured in 2016 when we had a reach stacker going through the deck and it collapsed. So, we conducted studies and discovered that the infrastructure had outlived its lifespan. Since the infrastructure had expired, there is no remedial or palliative measure that can be done because cargoes are still being handled at the ports.”
“Also, because of the seawater, the holding structure has been eroded and over 40 percent of the quay wall was affected as at the time of the report in 2017. Through the expert opinions of engineering companies, the only option proposed was reconstruction. If we try to seek another remedy, the result will be hastened collapse of the quay wall. This is because we would be applying immense pressure on a holding structure that is already heavily damaged.”
Rocher noted that the findings of the technical experts as well as design solutions for a reconstruction was packaged in proposals to Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Transport Ministry.
“We have been in discussions and we are still deliberating with NPA. We have come up with proposals and technical design solutions not only this perimeter, but the entire Lagos ports, that is Tin Can and Apapa. The design solution which we have reviewed is part of the full business case and a strategic modernization plan that has been submitted early this year,” he posited.
Rocher also noted that TICT is willing to carry out the investments directly as well as the extensions and he promised to make available the execution drawings of the new port quay wall to the Transport Ministry and NPA.
In her reaction, the Minister of State for Transportation assured that a holistic approach will be deployed to address this problem.
“We have gotten to that stage were there’s no more option of palliative or short-term remedy. The NPA and the Ministry will look at the issue and respond swiftly on how we are going to address this. It would be great to get these drawings so that whilst we are still in Lagos, we can study it with the NPA and explore other solutions to address,” Saraki said.
She, however, thanked the TICT Managing Director for taking the initiative to help the government better service the terminals with the study on the port infrastructure.
“The ports are major sources of government revenue and as critical national assets we need to ensure that they are safe for workers and users. We also need to ensure that we are creating and maximizing the wealth from the ports,” she added.
Also speaking at the Apapa port, the Executive Vice Chairman of ENL Consortium, Princess Vicky Haastrup, lamented the absence of fencing, even as she stressed that it poses security threats at the terminal.
Haastrup, who was speaking with the NPA team while waiting for the Minister’s arrival, noted that there is pilferage, fights and conflicts on daily basis at the port facility resulting from the absence of fences.