By Godwin Oritse
THE leadership of the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, yesterday, blamed the perennial gridlock on the port corridor on the obsolete cargo processing and clearing system introduced in the 70s.
Speaking at the 55th Session of the State House Briefing, the Managing director and Chief Executive Officer of NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, noted that the Tin Can and Apapa ports were built in the 70s with a manual processing system, which consequently caused gridlock in the axis as Lagos State population grew fatter.
He said technology has been introduced into the system, a development he stated, has eased the stress of gridlock.
He stressed that such processes will be replicated in the Lekki Port and other ports across the country.
He said: “The current and existing ports of Tincan and Apapa’s problem are that these ports were built in the 70s and the city has caught up with those ports and that is why we have perennial traffic and gridlock. We used to have manual manifest of trucks into the ports. The two ports handle apparently 1500 truck movements daily into the ports. We entered into partnership with truck Transit Park and an electronic call-up system which we named ‘Eto’ (Yoruba name for orderliness), which has resulted in fundamental ease in the traffic situation in the Lagos ports.
“With the result of this, we are trying to deploy it to other port locations. We are seeing gradual gridlock and we will deploy to Lekki and other port locations. What we have done is to ask the private sector to set up truck parks. Through that, the system has created employment and also added value. We are also sure that by the time the road construction, especially the one leading to Tin Can, is done and things will get better.”
Speaking on the integrated system through technology, Koko disclosed there is work in progress and partnerships with foreign technology companies.
“We realised that there is a need for an ultimatum that will be used by all stakeholders so we have consulted the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), that will assist with what we call the Port Community System. It is going to be a platform for exchange of information and data between relevant stakeholders and agencies in the maritime industry and the consultant has already begun. The consultants at a phase will have to visit the offices of the major stakeholders to see into their ICT system to see how they can integrate all the systems,” he said.
During the brief, Koko also noted NPA is working closing with shipping lines cautioning them not to turn Nigeria into a dump site for empty containers.
“We have also introduced the empty container policy. We realised that the shipping lines have turned Nigeria into a dumping site for empty containers. We have instructed that all shipping lines should evacuate the 80 per cent of all containers imported at any given time,” he said.
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