The management of the Leak FreePort Terminal has said that it has taken some measures towards ensuring easy flow of traffic within the port area in order to cut cost and facilitate trade for its customers.
Speaking during the question and answer session at the 2024 Roadshow organized by the Lekki Port and Lekki FreePort Terminal in conjunction with the Customs Area Controller of the Lekki free Trade Zone Command, Comptroller Mohammed Babandede in Lagos on Thursday, the Chief Commercial Officer, Lekki FreePort Terminal, Mr. Kehinde Olubi-Neye said that their customers have nothing to be afraid of as the shareholding structure of the port including the Lagos State Government was such that it could not afford to fail.
Declaring that Vehicle Booking System, VBS had come to stay at the port, Olubi-Neye informed that when they started putting in place the VBS, they did it with an understanding what the market requires and the control over access to the port.
He said, “We have been in engagement with the Lagos State Government, the Commissioner for Transport, Daniel Fubara has been quite active on that and we are discussing the roll out of the call up system. When we are in these meetings, they know how much we voice the need to ensure that this system supports vehicular movement.
“So, the plan for call up system is that it will be engraved in our own vehicle booking appointment for our own vehicle booking system. So, we are not going outside our own truck appointment system to execute call up. It’s a different case in Apapa or Lagos today. For us, it’s still the system you are using that you will use for your call up.
“You have touched the fact that there are people at the junction making things difficult. Thank you for that observation, we will immediately raise it. This is the first time I am hearing it, I have never seen that happen and we engage with customers daily but now you have raised it up to us, we will take it. But this is why we also need to have a robust traffic management system within the port community. If we do not get the law enforcement to eradicate and support the movement of traffic into the port area, then, we will have challenges. And some of these challenges is what you have mentioned.
“But if the traffic management authority can see from our own vehicle booking system, these are the people who are supposed to come to the port, then, they will be able to effectively manage it.
“You also touched upon the fact that the roads are only three lanes, that’s the beauty of Lekki Port today. If you look at the roads in itself, you will see that you still have a lot of setbacks to expand the road if it is required. Can you expand the road in this corridor? No, you can’t. We have the opportunity to at least, create additional two lanes within the existing road that is being developed but you also know, it is a capitalist market, what is the immediate need today is why this road is being developed this way.
“But what is the future is that we have setbacks to create additional road. The terminal itself, what is the requirement today? 1.5 million TEUs, we have created a terminal that can handle 1.2 million TEUs throughput today with the opportunity to expand over another 45 hectares.”
According to Olubi-Neye, the Lagos State Government had about 20 percent equity share within Lekki Port making it an investor in the port, adding that after s whopping $1.5 billion investment, it needed work to make it succeed.
“How would they make it succeed? It is with the likes of you coming to transact with us. If you do not bring business, we cannot get the volumes. For us to get the business, we need to make you satisfied”, he stated.
On his part, another senior manager in the terminal, Mr. Daniel Odibe observed that the terminal had contributed solutions to the government with respect to managing the traffic in and out of Lekki area adding that the terminal had been able to get the government and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA to earmark the Eleko junction to the port such that any truck coming into that area must have a reason to come into that area.
“The Vehicle Booking System enables you to make an appointment and say, your truck is going to come to pick up the containers or drop off the containers. So, we have also ensured that the government through their call up organization, is only working with the Vehicle Booking System of the terminal.
“So, you as a customer don’t have to go to another platform to print your appointment. You print your appointment in the terminal Vehicle Booking System, the government organization sees that and allows your truck in based on the appointment created. You could have the best roads, you could have the best system and all that but if you don’t enforce traffic management on the roads, you basically have nothing.
“So, part of their scopes or functions include ensuring that there is no parking along those roads and also having the tow trucks and other equipment to be able to address breakdowns and container collapsing. They planned to commence operations from February and we understand your concerns and will continue to engage them and make sure that they abide by what we all agreed which of course, is in your best interest”, Odibe submitted.
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