By Godfrey Bivbere
Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA has attributed the lingering gridlock along Mile 2 – Tin-can port axis to lack of diligent enforcement of orders banning unauthorised trucks parking along the expressway.
This is even as the Authority lobbied the Federal Ministry of Works and the contractor handling the road project to commence work on lot two of the project by moving from Cele Bus stop end of the road to Sunrise area.
NPA said that a lot of trucks both authorized and unauthorised are allowed to use the road as a parking lot while waiting for their “Terminal Delivery Order”, TDO, to be issued to them.
Speaking with Vanguard Maritime Report on the issue, the former Port Manager of Tin-can Island Port, Ibrahim Anyi, said it is not the duty of NPA to control traffic on the expressway.
Anyi said they are not happy with the gridlock because it is directly affecting operations at the port.
He explained that the service lane within the port environment which is under the direct control of NPA has since been cleared, noting that the responsibility of controlling traffic on the expressway does not fall under the control of NPA.
He also said that the failed portion of the expressway between Sunrise and Mile 2 contributes to the gridlock, noting that it is hindering the smooth movement of trucks to and from the port.
He expressed happiness that the contractors have resumed work at the Sunrise end of the road about two weeks ago.
He also said that the management of Truck Transit Park, TTP, have held a meeting with the port management and have started deploying their gadgets to that end of the road.
Secretary of Containerised Truck Owners Association of Nigeria, COTOAN, Yakub Kolawole, has attributed the seeming confusion along Mile2 – inward Tin-can port to lack of coordination and enforcement of truck movement from the two main terminals to the port.
Kolawole also blamed the activities of some persons benefitting from the huge extortion taking place along that route for the continued confusion.
The COTOAN boss, who spoke with Vanguard Maritime Report, explained that truck drivers with e-call-up numbers move without coordination from the two main holding bays to the port resulting in the congestion presently witnessed along the route.
He noted that it is the duty of both the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and Trucks Transit Parks (TTP) Limited, managers of the e-call-up system, to ensure strict coordination of trucks after they have gotten their call-up ticket.
He also blamed the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, for its inability to enforce traffic rules along the area by ensuring that only trucks with valid passes and authority are allowed to be on the road.
According to him, “We have a lot of people with vested interests; people that do not want it to work are more than those that want it to work. It is not the drivers or owners of the trucks; we have some people that are agents whose source of income is to make sure that they pass truckers for owners.
“So every means that government or any other person is putting in place to make sure that thing work smoothly is frustrated by them as long as they are not benefitting from it.
“Government can handle it if they want to. Look at the present call-up system is still okay and to some extent, it is still handling the problem but the only mistake from their side is that they are not monitoring the call-up.
“They are not monitoring the movement of the trucks from the park and pre-gate to the port. As long as you have your call-up ticket, you enter the road. Once you book, I book and once you have an original call-up ticket, you enter the road. There is no proper management of the movement.
“It is the duty of the NPA in collaboration with TTP Ltd, the managers of e-call-up system to determine the number of trucks to come from each park, what day and time in relation to the available space at the port.
“LASTMA is supposed to ensure that only trucks with the relevant papers are allowed on the road but they are not enforcing it,” he said.