The transportation (haulage) cost of moving cargo from the Apapa Lagos ports to the hinterland, including intra-city, have rising significantly over the past six months as the Apapa traffic gridlock now makes it difficult for trucks to do normal rounds of haulage.
Investigations by our correspondent indicated that it now takes between six and eight days for a hinterland-bound truck to get through its haulage processes as getting from the main Ojota-to Apapa terminal sometimes takes three to four days.
A driver to one of the major haulage companies, who pleaded that details of his truck should be held confidential but called himself, Abubakar Yaqub from Kano State, told our correspondent at the Ojuelegba- Stadium point of the Apapa road that he had been on the queue for two days and predicted that it may take him another two days before arriving at the Apapa terminal for loading.
He said: “We have been facing serious challenges of moving to Apapa for months now. The journey that used to take 6 days from Lagos port to Kano now takes between 20 and 27 days. The traffic is killing our business as transporters. To make us survive, we have to increase our charges.
“For instance, what we used to charge our customers about N100,000 before now is now costing them about N350,000 or N400,000. I know this is high but there is nothing we can do about it. Government must finish the road repairs quick. If not, this price may even go highere”, Yaqub added.
Our investigations showed that business owners now pay as much as N850,000 to transport a 40-feet container from the APM Terminal in Apapa to Ibadan and about N1.2 million or more to Akure, Ondo State.
On intra-city haulage, users are said to be paying as much as N350,000 for transporting a 40-feet cargo container from Tin Can port to Isolo Market or Alaba International Market. Transporters were charging just about N120,000 for such haulage services in the past.
It would be recalled that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had two weeks ago ordered a 72-hour joint operation of federal and Lagos State agencies to restore order in Apapa and its environs following the complete blockage of the road networks by trucks which made vehicular movement practically impossible in the Apapa axis.