By Godfrey Bivbere
PLANS by the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO, to re-new their truck fleet with funding supports from government may have been stalled by the absences of a truck terminal and notorious Apapa port traffic.
The Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, National Automative Council, NAC, and AMATO have been in discussion for provision of loans to members of AMATO for acquisition of new trucks.
Disclosing this to Vanguard Maritime Report in Lagos, President of AMATO, Remi Ogungbemi, said that they made both the NSC and NAC know that the first thing to do is the provision of a modern truck terminal to protect the trucks to be acquired.
Ogungbemi said without the terminal, the alternative is for the new truck to be added to the already bad situation by the present number of trucks on the roads occasioned by the bad port access roads and congestion at the ports.
According to him, “Yes, it is true that we have started talking to government through the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC. The platform we are using is the National Automotive Council, but why the discussion stopped is that even if we get the loan to acquire the new trucks, where do we park the trucks? Do we park them on the roads?
“We want to secure a modern and benefiting truck terminal so that even though we are given about 50, 100 or 200 trucks, we will not just litter them on the road. There must be a place where we can keep them from the vandals.
“If you get a loan you have to pay back and then if you park on the road and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, tow the vehicle away, how do you pay back? So we cannot just get the loans and acquire brand new trucks and put them on the road; no it is not advisable.
“So I told the Executive Secretary of the NSC that the idea is good but let us first get a place that will serve as a modern and befitting truck terminal for security purposes and so many other reasons,” he noted.