Originally published on June 9, 2018

The Apapa-Coconut petroleum market is one of the first and most prominent in private depot operation in downstream oil and gas in Nigeria. It comprises the following depots (in order of point of inception to the last): Capital Oil (out of operation for now), Aquitane, Ibeto Petrochemical, SPOG, Sahara Group, IBRU Yard Depots {Ibafon Oil, Eterna, T-Time, Leighton (Trade Block)}, Ascon, Gulf Treasures, Total, African Terminal and Integrated. Most traded products here are: Diesel (AGO), Petrol (PMS), Kerosene (DPK) and Aviation Fuel (ATK). However, the market does not sell Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). There is heavy presence of black marketers at the exit of the market. Also, there is just a private truck park opposite the depots which is obviously inadequate to contain the heavy traffic of trailers hauling petroleum products on daily basis.

• Bad roads spells doom on businesses in Apapa Coconut market.
Petroleum depot owners who ply their businesses in Apapa Lagos have brought to the limelight the tragic experiences they face due to bad roads; while also lamenting that these road predicaments have drastically slowed down the usually boisterous business activities around there.

Mr. Damola Oyedokun, the T-Time Depot manager, while speaking with our correspondents on a visit to the depot, revealed that the deplorable state of the roads is a leading factor affecting their major transactions; not only by discouraging their customers from coming down to the depots to patronize them but also leads to loss of lives of road users. 

He disclosed that the depot owners are not quiet about it and that different measures have been attempted to improve the situation.

For instance, he said that “the depot owners have tried by contributing money to revamp the ugly state of the road and palliative action already in progress.Also, several letters have been written to the government concerning what is going on within this axis.” 

He further corroborated that the road at the moment is characterised by serious gridlocks and fatal accidents. He stressed his position that quite a number of workers within the IBRU yard have lost their lives to the same bedeviling bad road. 
Mr. Ibrahim Goriola, a marketer in IbetoDepot and other individuals interviewed also supported the view as expressed above.

Our take: 
• Apapa Coconut axis of the petroleum markets is in dire need of road rehabilitation.
• Businesses at lowest ebb as many SMEs has literarily died.
• A clarion call is made to all stakeholders to revamp the roads and save lives and businesses.

Safety First
The safety of life is the first procedure when it comes to depot operations especially those that deal in the most volatile petroleum products such as highly inflammable petrol (PMS) and Aviation Fuel (ATK) etc. 

However, based on our observation of the market place, we rate the compliance to safety to a little above average. So much is needed in this area to avert dangers that may be avoidable.

Our take:
• Depot owners and operators need to be very compliant to safety rules.
• Alignment of trucks along the depot paths should be such that it allows for easy passage of fire-fighting vehicles.
• The fire alarm drill should be done more frequently at depots.

Customer and Customer’s Satisfaction
Customer and customer’s satisfaction are the ultimate in every facet of business; Oil and gas is no difference. A number of marketers and buyers expressed satisfaction in terms of loading operation and stock accuracy (though not in all cases). Commenting further, the T-Time depot manager, lauded the marketers for their germinal role in making business boom. He added that depot owners also play key roles in customer satisfaction. For example, his depot is equipped with state of the art equipment and best practices which bolster business traffic to the depot. 

Our take:
• Business thrives when there is a good relation between importers, marketers and depot owners.
• Excellent practices are also key to success here. 
• Presence of modern and adequate equipment cannot be left behind in customer satisfaction.