The Nigerian Government is to demolish some structures inside the Lagos Ports Complex to accommodate the Lagos-Ibadan Standard gauge rail project.Affected port terminals include Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL), ENL Consortium Ltd, Eko Support Services and Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL).
Addressing Journalists in Lagos after an inspection of the affected port terminals, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi urged the project contractor to always exploit alternative means before demolishing structures inside the ports' terminals. According to the Minister of Transportation, who was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, he said the government would ensure ports services are not disrupted as work would be carried out in some areas.
“It is important that we get the rail services right inside the ports to ease the congestion that we are having there.”On possible compensations to affected ports terminals, the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman assured that all affected port terminals would be compensated from the dues they pay into the Federal Government coffers.
“Right now, we have a situation where certain warehouses inside the ports will have to be removed. We have some portion of lands inside the ports that will have to be reclaimed by the government from the operators. It is important that the rail lines get to the quayside. I think that is more important than what will be demolished for now.“However, whatever we do, we are going to be mindful of port operations. We will ensure that the quayside is left available for operations while certain parts of the ports are being rehabilitated.
“For port terminal operators that will suffer loses in terms of the demolition of warehouses or structures, we are going to ensure that such operators get compensation. We are going to open discussion with such operators to ensure that any attendant compensation relating to the revenue they pay to us are recognised with the value of what they have lost. “After today, we are going to have another meeting in two weeks time to determine the increase in scope which the project will have because this visit has expanded the scope of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project. Now we know we are going to cover GDNL and expand it to Eko Support Services (ESS). We are also looking at providing rail sidings for ABTL owned by Flourmills. All this aspect needs to be computed, and the numbers presented to the Honourable Minister of Transportation for necessary approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).”
On the implication of the massive workload on the quayside of the ports, the NPA MD revealed that an integrity test will be carried out to determine the capacity of the quays.“We are carrying out an integrity test to determine the capacity of the quays. Upon determining their capacities, we will look at what manner of reinforcements needs to be done to those quays so that they can accommodate the proposed standard gauge rail project. Usman added that is was important to note that not all terminals would be affected and stated the need to deploy intermodal means of cargo evacuation at the ports to ease congestion.