How minimum standards by NPA may mar take off of e-call up system in January


As the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) sets to commence the electronic call up system otherwise known as e-call up system for trucks operating in the Nigerian maritime industry, industry watchers have expressed doubt in the ability of the Authority to actually deploy the project on the said date given the cumbersome minimum standards set for truck park owners/operators to meet before their parks could be certified as satellite truck parks to be used for the project.

NPA had in a public notice no. 4147 called for expression of interest for the certification of satellite truck parks (holding bays) to service Lagos Port Complex and Tincan Island Port Complex via e-call up.

In the said notice, NPA informed the maritime stakeholders and the general public of its intention to introduce an e-call up system for trucks ingressing ports in the Lagos area adding that the objective of the project was to make the Lilly pond truck park and Tincan Island truck parks the transit points for trucks accessing Lagos port complex and Tincan Island Complex.

It therefore invited reputable and competent truck park owners/operators interested in their truck parks to be used as a satellite truck park for the e-call up system to submit an application for certification of such parks to be deployed as truck parks even as it insisted that the park must be within Lagos state or the immediate environs.

NPA noted that upon certification of the truck park and commencement of operation,only trucks from such satellite truck parks would be allowed access into the port location via the e-call up system.

It went further to enumerate the minimum standards for satellite truck parks to include; truck park shall be fenced and have adequate 24 hours security; truck park shall have a gate and automated access control; truck park shall have a closed circuit television (CCTV); truck park shall have adequate conveniences for at least 1 toilet per 15 people; truck park shall have 24 hour power supply (electricity) and truck park shall have running water.

Others are; the tarmac (flooring) of the truck park shall be paved; truck park shall be well illuminated; truck park shall have a capacity to hold a minimum of one hundred (100) trucks; provision shall be made for canteen and relaxation spot; truck park shall not be located within the port precinct –Apapa port – Wharf Road Ijora – Mile 2 – Tincan Island port; truck inspection office shall be provided for the inspection of trucks/articulated vehicles by VIS, Lagos state and FRSC/NPA Safety Department and truck transit park shall have firefighting equipment.

Reacting to the minimum standards set by NPA for truck owners/operators, a truck owner, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed posited that they hope and wish to see that the electronic call up system come into effect by January as announced by NPA even as he expressed doubt on the ability of the Authority to kick start the project on schedule.

According to Mohammed, “I don’t know what miracle they want to use to achieve it because if you look at it holistically, the requirements put in place for private park owners to meet before their parks could be given approval to operate is cumbersome. Yes, it is a welcomed development; we are in support of it. We are even clamouring for the electronic call up system to commence so that all the unwanted trucks will not continue to be an obstruction to the free flow of traffic.

“For so many years, we have been expecting the deployment of the electronic call up system. If you recall, in 2019, they said that they will commence the deployment of the electronic call up system in August. On getting to August, they postponed it and now they have the January date. How many days do we have to get to January? Are they going to finance the private parks by supplying all that they listed as requirements to be met? I think that the essence of deploying the electronic call up system is to ease the flow of traffic.

“But now that they said that they wanted to start the process in January and these are the requirements, forgetting that the average of trucks that do come to the port to load in Apapa is about 500. The question is how many garages will meet those requirements before the January commencement date? But we want to see the miracle happen in January. What are they doing to see that they compel the shipping companies to have their own holding bays for receiving their empty containers which could have taken care of about 70% of this problem?”

He added,” Let us follow it holistically, yes, we need the electronic call up so that we can eliminate unwanted trucks but let them go and identify those garages that are very functional with trucks and know how best to integrate them into the system without giving them harsh requirements for us to meet the January commencement date.”

Photo: Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed.

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