The National Association of Road Transport Owner (NARTO) has called on the agencies of the government operating at the nation’s seaports especially the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to synergize so as to ensure a smooth port operation at the nation’s seaports.
The Lagos State Vice Chairman, Dry Cargo section, NARTO, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed who made call in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently, stated that their expectation was for the NSC and NPA to synergize so as to checkmate the excesses of the terminal operators and the shipping companies.
Mohammed said that the regulatory agencies, that is the NSC and NPA should ensure that there is machinery in place to check the activities of the terminal operators especially on the number of empty container laden trucks that are admitted into the port on daily basis.
According to him, “The government has tried by setting up a task team that tried to decongest the Apapa gridlock. In the real fact, myself as a trucker, I know that the task team has done wonderfully well in the sense that if you come to the port, the construction that is ongoing has narrowed the movement of the trucks into a single lane but reaching to the port gate, you can stay there for more than twenty to thirty minutes before you see a single truck admitted into the terminal. So, our expectation is that the NPA and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council should synergize so that we can have a smooth port operation.
“Again, the customs also need to synergize with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in order to decongest the port as it relates to overtime cargoes at the port.”
He noted that when one talks about the maritime industry, the first thing that comes to mind is the state of the roads but “we thank the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for awarding the contracts for road reconstruction. You can see that the reconstruction of the roads is ongoing; it is only that there must be pains.”
“I want to plead with truckers to exercise patience because of the ongoing reconstruction bearing in mind that wherever there is construction, there must be some level of inconvenience. So, let us bear with them, after the initial pain, we will all be happy because the government is so committed to see that a lot of infrastructure is put in place and we have seen what they are demonstrating, although the contractor within this axis (Tincan) is too slow. At any time, he comes to close roads without considering the impact on the road users. The contractor should know that he has the duty to protect the road users and make sure that he gives information whenever there is any diversion not just to come within a day and block the road”, he added.
While adding that the introduction of barge system in the port was a good idea as it would help to decongest the port, he however observes that some of the jetties where those trucks were coming to pick up or return containers were not being regulated.
“I learnt that the two jetties that are within there, if those trucks are coming out, you see some of them going opposite traffic without anybody regulating their movement. Another thing I have noticed is that from where those barges are loading the trucks, there is safety and security concern. Which security agency is there to check those trucks so as to ascertain what those trucks are carrying? That is another security challenge that we want the government to look into. The regulatory agencies should put machinery in place to know the content of each truck going into the port from the jetties”, he said.
On the failed promises in the maritime industry last year, he said, “there was an electronic call up system that was promised us by the NPA to be flagged off by August last year which up till now we did not see but even with the manual call up, I think if there is a synergy and there is sincerity among the agencies, it will go on well. We had stakeholders’ meeting last week and some issues were thrown up, our expectation is that the agencies concerned should go and have a critical look at the issues raised and see how they can tackle those lapses.”
Photo: Lagos State Vice Chairman, Dry Cargo Section, NARTO, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed.
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