Following protests by some stakeholders and recently by truck drivers over the implementation of the electronic call up system for trucks operating at the Lagos ports, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria has called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to create further awareness and try to encourage use by truck operators.
The National Executive Director, CILT Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe who made this call in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently said that this is necessary as some of the truck owners may be criticizing it based on the fact that they were not given the usual advantages they normally get outside of the truck call up system.
This, he said may be the case as they use their influence to get other trucks in the past to take out loads for their bigger trucks that were not in the port to move the cargo to wherever they want.
According to him, “It is that possible because they are losing some measure of economic advantage, they are now kicking against it but let there be a level playing ground, let there be greater awareness and let the people support the programme and let us see how it alleviates our problem.”
While acknowledging that the truck call up system was a beautiful idea because of the traffic situation around Apapa, he also agreed that implementation might not be very smooth adding that people could complain if implementation was not smooth and was not covering everybody.
“Just like when they started with ATM, some people almost frustrated it but today, it is like everybody has to use ATM in order to reduce the time you will spend going to the bank. So, the critical thing is that the thing is there and by design, it will aid transactions. Because it will aid transaction time, what NPA should do further alongside with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is to create further awareness and try to encourage use because some of the truck owners may criticize it based on the fact that they are not given the usual advantages they normally get outside of the truck call up system. Maybe they use their influence to get other trucks to take out loads for their bigger trucks that are not in the port to move the cargo to wherever”, he added.
On the challenges drivers may encounter using the Eto App owing to their inability to operate an Android phone, Ndibe said, “We should look at the overall advantage it will offer. If ten or fifteen per cent of the population do not know how to use the android phone, it is a simple matter, they can learn it over time. As soon as they acquire that knowledge, they can key in but let those who have acquired that knowledge and can key into it go ahead. As a matter of fact, your ability to operate an android phone shows your ability to handle a truck.
“So, if you cannot exclusively handle an android phone, it presupposes that you may not be able to handle anything about a truck given the current situations we have. The point I am making here is this; if you are a driver and you illiterate, it means there are many things that will pass you, you won’t even know. If they say travel on 30 kilometer and there is a sign flashing that, because you are illiterate, you didn’t interpret that and move further than that and you have an accident, who will be blamed?
“So, all the drivers, this is the best time for them to upscale both in knowledge and in everything. Secondly, I do not expect that a single truck owner should be able to flood the truck to the port. One should expect that for every operator whose truck should enter the port should be somebody with minimum of ten trucks. The reason is this; if truck A is carrying a cargo and he has a damaged engine part, instead of holding on to the cargo until it is repaired, he will send another truck to trans load and at no cost to him but if you are moving to another truck, you are going to lose that revenue and because you don’t want to lose that revenue, you hold on to that job until you repair your truck. So, you are now slowing down the flow in the economy.
“So, as far as one would expect, let it be operators who have minimum of five trucks that should be listed and show evidence that they have five trucks, that their trucks should be able to get to the port and pick up cargo.
Asked if he was not advocating for job loss on the part of the truck drivers if only operators with minimum of five trucks were allowed to operate, he said, “It is not job loss. The issue is everybody must not come to the port, there are other cargoes to carry not necessarily container because container is an international item so to say and therefore, it should be given that international recognition. They can carry other loads within the country like cartons of biscuits, cartons of Indomie and so on. It must not necessarily be a flatbed; they can carry even mild steel plates. They can carry rods. We still manufacture rods to carry in Nigeria. They have things to carry but for international commodity passing through the ports, it should be given to operators of trucks that have minimum of five trucks and I have given the reason for that.”
Photo: The National Executive Director, CILT Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe.
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