Confusion as rail construction threatens Apapa port tank farms
•We will consult expert on tank farms —Amaechi
The entire Lagos Port Complex (LPC) is currently gripped in a confusion state following announcement by the Honourable Minister of Transportation; Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi that the construction works of the $1.5bn standard guage rail project will begin at the ports by end of May, 2019, and that the fate of the numerous tank farms located at Dockyard road in Apapa, very close to the site of the proposed new mega train station, remain unknown.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, a worker at the Waziri jetty located alongside numerous tank farms at Dockyard road in Apapa, Jide Banjoko, wondered what will become of the fate of the tank farms giving their importance to the economy of the nation.
“Here in Dockyard road, we have about ten tank farms fully loaded with petroleum products. The tank farms are just sitting behind the proposed Apapa mega train station. The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) even claims the tank farms have encroached on its land.
“What will happen to the tank farms? Will they be relocated? The Minister said he will consult expert on what to do with the tank farms, we just hope he considers economic importance ahead of whatever they wish to build here,” Mr. Banjoko said.
Also speaking to the Nigerian Tribune, a worker with one of the terminal operators inside the Apapa port expressed concern at the volume of what has been earmarked for demolition by the contractor of the standard gauge rail project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
According to the employee who begged not to have her name in print, “Every day, we fear for port operation because many structures that have been earmarked for demolition by CCECC are critical to seamless cargo evacuation from the port.
“We hear work will commence at the ports by end of May, most likely in June or July. It is very important that structures germane to seamless cargo evacuation from the ports are left untouched.”
When reminded that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) MD has promised to reimburse terminal operators of their loss through what they pay to the Authority, the employee who is a senior cadre level employee at the ports explained that everything is not money.
In her words, “Yes, the NPA has promised to mitigate the loss of the operators, but everything is not money. Construction works inside the ports will definitely disrupt port operations and activities. Many port schedules will be affected, and the operators will at the end of the day bear the pains.”