FORMER Governorship aspirant in Delta State, under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sunny Onuesoke has thrown his weight behind the call by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola for diversion of cargoes from Lagos ports to other ports in Nigeria in order to ease the congestion in Apapa, Tin-Can Ports and Lagos environs.
He urged the federal government to support the call.
Recall that the minister made the call recently during an inspection tour of the reconstruction work on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, noting that the Apapa port which was built in 1975 was no longer capable of handling the volume of imports and activities.
Onuesoke who hailed the call said the congestion at the ports has resulted in higher landing costs to importers, higher risks of loss and damage to cargo with a higher insurance premium, heavy damage to inter-state highways with resulting short life span due to pressure from articulated vehicles, and loss of productive man-hours amongst other costs that are not quantifiable.
The Chairman, DAS Energy Services, Udu in Delta State, explained that diverting cargoes from Lagos ports to other ports will not only reverse their fortunes as sea-land interface structures but will once again revive the once active but now dying market out-posts which the port towns of Warri, Sapele, Koko, Burutu and Port Harcourt were known for.
Onuesoke reiterated that Warri, Port Harcourt, Sapele and Burutu ports remained unique with an enormous capacity yearning for development because of their strategic location in the heart of Nigeria’s oil and gas mineral deposits and their proximity to the Atlantic.
He adjudged the Deltan ports as ports of the future, which would fit snugly in the country’s agenda of oil and gas industry deregulation as they would serve as the hub of modular oil refineries and marine transportation of petroleum products to neighbouring countries and beyond.
Ealier, Fashola explained that it was time for some cargoes coming into Nigeria to be diverted to other ports than Apapa and Tin Can ports, hoping that diverting the cargoes will not only help to decongest the ports, but also control traffic in the premier port city.
Reacting to Fashola’s advice while addressing journalists on the sideline during the Gas and Energy workshop held in Lagos weekend, Onuesoke said diversion of cargoes to other ports like Warri, Koko, Sapele and Port Harcourt among others will not only decongest Lagos ports and its environs but will equally boost the economy of Nigeria and states where the ports are located.
He argued that Lagos ports will continue to be congested, mainly because nearly all of the cargoes traffic that should be handled by Warri, Koko, Sapele, Burutu and Port Harcourt ports get stemmed at Lagos, only to be transported by road to their various destinations across the country.