The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has pledged to support the management of FT Logistics Services Limited to enlist the buy-in of the relevant authorities to the cause of an electronic call-up system for trucks at the nation’s seaports as proposed by the firm once it is convinced with the project.
The General Manager, Western Ports, NPA, Chief Michael Ajayi who made this pledge at the presentation of the electronic call-up system by the proposing firm, FT Logistics Global Services Limited at the Western Ports Headquarters in Lagos on Monday applauded the idea as a noble one.
Ajayi pointed out that the bane of development in Nigeria was the inability of Nigerians to replicate what they see abroad in terms of development adding that the Management of NPA saw the electronic call-up system as conceived by FT Logistics as a brilliant idea which the authority should not hesitate to look at.
He disclosed that at inception, the Lagos ports comprising of the Apapa Ports and the Tincan Island ports, there were enough space because the Lagos ports dealt with about 40 million metric tons of cargo annually adding that with the ports concession in 2005, the ports now had to deal with about 80 million metric tons.
“So, you can imagine the quantum of trucks traversing this area every now and then. Definitely, without expanding the infrastructure, we are bound to find ourselves in this quagmire. And so, for a group of people to think about this kind of solution, I think it is highly commendable.
“We know the ideal thing as it is practiced in the advanced countries but our inability to replicate what we see abroad has been the bane of development in Nigeria. So, we saw this brilliant suggestion and we felt we should take a look at it.
“So, we pray that God will give Nigeria the power to bring it into fruition. It is an ideal thing. We hope that we help you to sell this programme once we are convinced about it. We will help you sell it and by the grace God, we are having a new government, a government of a change, I am part of change and also I am an apostle of that change”, Chief Ajayi said.
The General Manager promised that on appointment of the new Minister of Transport, the project would be presented to so that he too could key into the project and help drive the project saying that NPA alone would not be able to do it.
He said,” But if we enlist the support of the Minister, seeing it and the State government coming into it, we pray it succeeds. I also intend to sell it to my classmate who is the Secretary to the State Government so that he too can buy into it”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of FT Logistics Global Services Limited, Chief Chris Orode explained that the project was a private initiative under the auspices of FT Logistics Global Services limited which is a company registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in partnership with Aulic Nigeria Limited and Interswitch.
Orode said that the company was aware of proactive actions the NPA had been taking in recent years to be able to address the constant gridlock on the port access roads explaining that the project if adopted was capable of providing 99.9% solution to the persistent gridlock.
“We may not have the total answer but we believe if we cooperate and partner effectively, we should be able to address all the key issues but we want to assure you that what we have is not a call-up system that is bought from one company or shelf, no, it is a homegrown website developed solution”, he said.
On his part, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi pointed out that the problems that had restricted the movement of trucks had been one militating against the survival, stability and smooth running of the trucking operation in the Nigeria’s maritime industry.
Ogungbemi described as unfortunate attempts made at laying the blames at the doorstep of the truck operators whereas they were not the cause even as he said that they were all concerned over the matter.
While recounting their efforts at securing a truck terminal in Lagos which was later frustrated by the Lagos State government, the AMATO boss expressed the hope that the project as proposed by FT Logistics and partners would be a success.
“So, it is our joy and it is what we have been yearning for, for a thing that will bail us out from this mess and shackles that we are into by which drivers especially spend a number of days on the queue in a bid to enter the ports either to load or offload and this problem has been one of the reasons the drivers flare up easily with the authorities.
“So, having said this, it is our joy and it is our wish and prayer that the presentation today will serve as a solution to all the problems that have been militating against especially with us the truckers in the maritime industry”, Ogungbemi submitted.
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