FEDERAL government officials are considering easing the chromic congestion at Apapa with the construction of a new deep seas port in the town of Araromi in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Nigeria’s main sea port at Apapa in Lagos, is currently gridlocked as it cannot cope with the volume of traffic going through it and the Oshodi-Apapa road leading to the port is now one huge car park. Due to the absence of a rail link at the port, trailers going to collect containers now line the road, rendering it impassable to other motorists, creating an environmental disaster.
Plans are afoot to clear the road by getting the trailers to park outside Lagos and only come in to town when they get electronic messages asking them to do so. Over the long term, however, the government needs to construct and dredge more ports along Nigeria’s coastline to ease the pressure on Apapa, which is currently overwhelmed with the volume of cargo it is having to handle.
In response to this challenge, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Ondo State government have begun talks about how to construct a deep sea port in the state. Both parties have agreed to move forward with the execution of the multi-billion naira project, which is expected to open new opportunities in the economy of the state.
NPA managing director Hadiza Usman is expected to have a preliminary meeting with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu this week on the matter. Apparently, the NPA is keen on Araromi because of several natural advantages which include its proximity to the southeast and the south-south geo-political zones through Okitipupa and Ore.
One NPA source said: “We are committed to this because we are already under pressure to find a lasting solution to the embarrassing gridlock in Apapa, which has deteriorated following the perennial poor port access roads. We are aware that efforts have been put in by the state governor for there to be a seaport along the coastline and precisely in Araromi where there is a natural trench and deeper draft than the Badagry project, which would be more expensive to embark upon because it lacks the required minimum of 16 metre raft in depth.
“I can emphatically say that the technical efforts of the Ondo State government appear to have jump-started the process because we followed up and we are almost convinced that Ondo State has a deeper raft advantage than any other port in the country. So we may have no choice than to look in the direction of Ondo State.”