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No panacea yet for Container Traffic on Lekki-Epe axis

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Whereas the Federal Government has approved the connection of Lekki Port to the proposed Eastern coastal rail line for cargo evacuation, work is yet to resume even as the scheme is not captured in the 2023 budget.
The implication of this is that traffic crisis will soon envelope the only expressway (Lekki-Epe) which will inturn hit back at commuter and private cars movement on the sole highway.
The coastal rail will connect the port through Ijebu-Ode axis as part of efforts to ensure free flow of cargo movement and avoid gridlock around the port environment.
Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Port, Daniel Odibe, stated the proposed rail connection to the port if completed, will aid cargo evacuation together with the road and barges.
According to him, it has been estimated that from Lekki Port to Ijebu-Ode will be about 50 kilometres while Ijebu-Ode to Ibadan rail line, will be about 70 kilometres.
He also disclosed that Lagos State Government has commenced work on the construction of access roads leading to the port.
However, he appealed for more support in the area of infrastructural development to ensure ease of cargo movement out of the port.
He said that port management is also perfecting plans to bring in two automated scanners to fast-track cargo examination at the port, adding that the scanners are expected to arrive in Nigeria by February 2023 before they will be installed for use at the port.
“The scanners will be a drive-through facility that has the capability to scan containers in 33 seconds and will eliminate the challenges that come with a physical examination of cargo at the port,” he said.
Meanwhile, the management of the newly completed Lekki Port is presently perfecting arrangements to begin commercial operations before the end of the first quarter of 2023. The Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), said the terminal operator, Lekki Free Port Terminal, will be carrying out trial operations once they complete the installation of all the necessary port equipment and infrastructure.
He said the target is to ensure that the port starts commercial operations on or before March 31, 2023.
He said starting commercial operations means having the first commercial vessel visit the port, which will be done side by side with the Presidential commissioning of the port.
He added that Lekki Port has already opened discussions with potential operators of the liquid berth terminals, which is critical to the commencement of the construction of Phase two of the port.

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