The Coalition of Maritime Truck Unions and Association (COMTUA) has restated its rejection of the new freight rate issued recently by the Nigerian Shippers ‘Council (NSC) describing it as ill-timed.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos on Wednesday, the Head of Operations, COMTUA, Alhaji Abullahi Inuwa Mohammed said that his group rejected the new freight rate because they were not carried along in the process that led to the issuance of the new rate adding that they were not invited during the launch of the freight rate.
Mohammed recalled that sometime last year, even before the crisis of gridlock became so unbearable, the NSC had asked them to submit their freight rate which they did and later called them to a meeting where it unveiled its (NSC) own rate which according to him nearly tallied with what the truckers had earlier submitted and needed a little adjustments.
“And we pointed out that there were some other areas that they did not capture in terms of extortion within the port environment and other places and they promised us that they will go back and review and call us back for another meeting to harmonize the rate only for us to hear that the Shippers’ Council has launched the new freight rate which to my knowledge, the association I belong to – NARTO was not invited for the launch, the same thing is applicable to other trucking associations. So, we were not fully aware of it and that is why we rejected it.
“Although we know that the Presidential Task Team has done a lot to decongest the road but still, this is not the right time for the freight rate because transportation is about demand and supply. It is not the truckers that are demanding for the increase rather what we met in the field, that is what determine now because of the various challenges.
“We were not happy because we were not invited and even if we were invited, it is right that we should have made an input but we only heard about it. And with what is on ground now, I don’t think that freight rate will be practicable because there is still a lot to be done.
“When you look at the Apapa axis, a lot has been done there but if you come to Mile 2 – Tincan axis where you have so many terminals and traffic on that road is more than the one in Apapa and when you look at the present situation, the construction is ongoing, despite the fact that we need to speed up the construction work, the contractor is not even working on Saturdays and Sundays which is not supposed to be so. There are lots of challenges. If there is an enabling environment and everybody is doing the needful, that is when the new freight rate can be effective”, he said.
Asked if he had seen the new freight rate as released by NSC, he had this to say,” Apart from the day we sat at a meeting where they unfolded an excellent work which they did where we made input and they promised to review and make some adjustments, I have never set my eye on any new freight rate”.
Asked when the right time for the introduction of a new freight rate was, he said,” That was why I told you earlier, the one we submitted nearly tally with the one they produced requiring only a little adjustment but even when we have submitted our own, our own rate will not even work in the present circumstance. By the time we have Single Window platform at the port, by the time electronic call up system start to work perfectly well and other parks well integrated into the system and when the roads here are free and motorable especially the Tincan Island road, that is when we should start thinking of that”.
Send your news, press releases/articles to email@example.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.