…8 truck holding bays to take-off; move to end corrupt practices
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and Lagos State government, yesterday, disclosed plans to finally commence a three-month trial on enforcement and compliance of Electronic Call-Up System from February 27, 2021, as part of measures to ensure the free-flow of traffic in Apapa access port areas and environs.
Governor Babajide Samwo-Olu and the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, said this when the latter led a delegation of NPA management on a courtesy visit to the governor at the Lagos House, in Alausa, Ikeja.
While receiving the delegation, the governor said: “There have been conversations around the call-up system, It has been a tedious and rigorous process and we are happy it is taking off now; it is will be a transparent system, there will be a virtual dashboard that people will see at the various stations.
“We are starting with eight holding pass at the first instance, and as numbers and investments improve, NPA will approve others, our target is to take about 3,000 and 5,000 articulated trailers off the road to be able to feed and serve our ports well.
“This will certainly be the beginning of better customers’ journey in the ports and people living around the port areas. Since it will be app-based and no one had to interface with security agents or call at ungodly hours, enforcement will be that if you don’t have any business on the road, we will have enough towing vehicles to tow your truck off the road.
“There will also be fines to deter others so that people can understand the seriousness of this. The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, and Police should work together to ensure the free flow of traffic around the ports and Apapa/Oshodi Expressway.
“There are regulations to ensure that shipping firms have holding bays to park their trucks rather than park on the roads and then cause gridlock and pay demurrage on empty containers.
“They are not responsible for ensuring their trucks get into the port, they are not under pressure to ensure the best time since their deposits will be refunded so they are not under any form of pressure
Three months’ trial of e-call up
“This is the beginning of a strong collaboration among the NPA, Lagos state and the people. Our officers should ensure this project works; we are starting with a two-three month trial.
“There could be initial teething problems but we would ensure we smoothen the journey so that the trailers can get to the ports early enough. “Lagos will ensure these resolutions come to life and give relevant strength and support to make it work.”
Menace of trucks embarrassing —NPA boss
Earlier, Usman, in her address, said: “We are here to strengthen the collaboration with Lagos State Government on the implementation and compliance as we commence deployment of E- Call up system on February 27, 2021.
“We have worked seamlessly with the Lagos State Government to ensure that Apapa and Tincan ports are rid of the menace of trucks that have bedevilled that location.
“It’s quite an embarrassment to all of us in government year in year out. Now, we believe we have a strong e-call up that will remove human interference from the process.”
She, however, stated that one of the key aspects of the new system is that truck parks have been approved where it is safe to access port location.
She said: “Having identified these truck parks through a public process, we have listed eight truck parks that so certified by Lagos state government and NPA that truckers having the intention of doing business in the ports will park pending e-call up.
“This will remove human interference and the idea of trucks, been flown or flying into the ports at night, as well as all manner of extortion and allegations across both sides: between NPA, Police and attendants, will come to an e d through transparent e-call up that will provide first-come, first-serve for access into port locations.
“One of the key aspects of strengthening collaboration with Lagos state government is compliance as we deploy implementation on February 27, 2021.
“Any truck found on the access road that has not been called upon through e-call up will be impounded by Lagos State Government, supported by federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, and NPA security and violator(s) will have to pay a huge sum of fine before the truck will be released.
“This is the aspect of enforcement and compliance we are all anxious it succeeds. Truck owners have been briefed at extensive stakeholders’ consultation over the last two months. We have had media engagement where the procedure for utilising the call-up system has been deployed.
“Thus, any truck that is found in the corridors would be impounded and Lagos state government will provide the platform for which the payment will be made to enable owner to collect the truck back.”
Speaking further, she said: “No individual should try to get empty containers into the ports as they will not be allowed to that anymore.
“So, deposit that the shipping companies have been making huge profits off Nigerians in the past will come to an end.
“All you have to do is that when you empty your box, you return it to the empty container holding bays of shipping companies and if the holding bay is filled up because some shipping companies are fond of creating all sort of bottlenecks. We have a helpline to attend to such complaints.
“So, for every container a shipping company brings in, it must take out. The volumes of containers a shipping company brings in every year will have to be exited from the country before we certify your license for the subsequent year.
“This will also ensure that shipping companies will not come into the country and devise ways and means of making money outside the legitimate business they have and that is bringing cargoes seamlessly into our ports.
“This collaboration, we believe will see to the end of traffic gridlock in the area.”