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FG orders expansion of Apapa port terminal


…insists on all rail line terminating at seaports
In furtherance of the federal government’s ongoing railway transformation project, the Apapa port terminal has been slated for demolition and expansion to accommodate the huge number of goods leaving the port terminal to other destinations.

Also, the government is proceeding with its policy on ensuring that all rail lines in the country terminate at sea ports, as a means of decongesting the nation’s roads of heavy duty vehicles.

Daily Times recalls that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last week during a brief stop – over at Apapa, Lagos, ordered the immediate evacuation of all trucks blocking the Apapa expressway within 72 hours.

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, while attending a monthly meeting of the steering committee on rail projects on Monday, ordered that the Apapa terminal needs urgent expansion to accommodate the amount of traffic expected of the place when the project becomes operational.

The minister during the inspection tour of the facilities indicated that some buildings and shops within the area should be demolished to give way for the expansion work and the provision of major access roads.

While updating journalists on the ongoing Lagos – Ibadan rail line, he said the quality of track laying and field work is going well, except for the problem in Lagos.

“We have problem in Lagos; Apapa to be precise. Not because there is work done in Apapa but because we are going to relocate one of the stations in Apapa.

“The problem with Lagos is the relocation of gas and oil pipelines. We will try and award the contract for the water pipelines because they have not finished the technical work for the relocation of the gas and oil pipelines. This is slowing down the activities of work in Lagos.

“At the last meeting in Ajaokuta or Warri, we insisted that they must have culverts in Lagos. We discovered that they just did four culverts and that is not enough,” he stated.

Amaechi, however, said he is of the belief that the task given to the company is going on well because the contract is in two phases.

He explained that “the first phase is the Ebutte – Metta to Ibadan and we believe that we should be able to complete that. The second phase is the Apapa to the sea port. If we are not able to complete that, we will start commercial activities from Ebutte – Metta to Ibadan which is the original contract.

“Remember, it was this government that said all railway lines must terminate at seaports. For that reason, if we finish on time, fine; if we don’t, we focus and continue but work is progressing rapidly from Ebutte – Metta to Ibadan”.

On the laying of tracks, he said he was unhappy because of the pace of work, adding that the problem is not the laying of tracks rather, it is the bridges.

He said that the bridges have to be constructed first then the tracks will follow because one third of the construction is over the bridges.

On the extension of the completion date for project, the minister said there was no need to talk about extension since the contractors have not used up the time frame for the project.

“The project is designed for three years. We were just the ones pushing the contractors to finish it in one year. We are just compelling the contractors to finish it in one year.

I have always insisted that no matter the situation, we will begin commercial activities in Ibadan to Ebutte – Metta first,” he added.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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