How can the menace of articulated trucks be curtailed on our roads?

 Alade Shabi (NAFFAC Chairman, Lagos Airport Chapter)

It is an easy thing if everybody is doing their job; when you want to talk about the age of vehicles, only few of them would be available by the time you screen them out by age, but what we are saying that the ones that are available should be maintained, everybody should play their part, the transport owners should be able to upgrade their vehicles, the security men should be able to do their job, maybe they are not latching their containers properly, there are cases of tankers leaking fuel on the road, is it not from depot that the truck was loaded? Before going out they are supposed to have seen that, so let everybody do their job, economically we know that it is not easy to buy a new truck, but maintenance should be uppermost.

 

Festus Ukwu (National Secretary of NCMDLCA)

It would not be easy to curtail it, because it is a problem that was created a long time ago, I think all tankers head to Lagos because of the tank farms, and as a long time solution, government should either relocate the tank farms or probably find other solutions. The tank farms should be relocated to south east states like Warri, Calabar. Why tank farms were cited in Lagos, I would not say it is for selfish interest, but I know that it was something that caused it and it has to do with pipeline vandalism. If you see the way the Lagos Port is built, I don’t know how government can create another access road, it is either across the sea or wherever, in order to make vehicles manouver from the port, the way Lagos port was created, it does not leave room for expansion, the whole area is choked up, so the solution is to relocate the tank farms.

 

Mike Ossy (Vice Chairman, ANLCA Tin Can chapter)

It is going to be a bit difficult, government has tried it before, we thought it was going to work, but all of a sudden, the police started collecting bribe and they jeopardized the whole process and the menace continued again. Some lorries and trucks are not worthy of being on the roads, notwithstanding that the road is bad. In finding a lasting solution, all the stakeholders would have to be involved - the police, the navy and the army, we have discovered that on this road, the only people that can maintain law and order are the army, because they are not all that corrupt, but if you hand over implementation of anything into the hand of police and the NPA, it would never work, because the people that operate the call-up system would compromise.

                                                                  Alhaji Akanni Balogun (Licensed Customs Agent)

There is no way we can get a lasting solution because our systems are not running well, the articulated trucks and tankers have their role in the economy, if you have a container inside the port,  it is still the articulated vehicles that will pick them, our major problem is bad roads, if good roads are put in place and the movement of trucks are regulated, there was a time in this country that trucks don't move until 9pm , this is because the traffic would be easier for them at that time of the day. Government have left tin can road unattended for the past ten years, look at the bridges at Ijora, they are rickety in nature, it is only God that is having mercy on us, we are taking risks every day. They should allow the rail to work and lift containers and petroleum products, if this is done, there would be less pressure on the road. Before now, we used to have weigh bridges , some of the petroleum tankers are constructed to carry 33,000 litres , but you would see some of them carrying 60,000 litres , they are overusing the road.  

Mr. Yakubu Kolawole (Apapa Youth Truck Owners)

Yes, there is more to do, the roads should be put in shape, let us have motorable roads, it is the first issue that is causing the menace. Secondly from our part as truckers, let the federal government intervene because the load they are giving us, that is the Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) that we are using inside the terminal, what they declare in the TDO is not what we see. They will tell you that what you are going to carry is 20tons, but you discover that it is more than what they declare in the document and we don’t have the capacity to investigate and all that because we were not there when they declared. What is in the TDO is bigger than what they tell us which mean directly or indirectly they are giving us more than what we can carry. 

Rev. Jonathan Nicol (President, Shippers Association Lagos State)  

It is not the fault of the trucks; it is the fault of the people who are supposed to receive containers.  You don’t just put a  truck on the highway like that, it is an asset to the owner of the truck, so you don’t just put them out there to face a situation where the security is not even guaranteed. Do you know how much it will cost to get a truck? So all the blame goes to the government, are they not the people who signed the concession agreement? That agreement is ruining the country; if they sign an agreement and it is not working, they should cancel it. We are not interested in how many forklifts or cranes they have we are interested in doing business the way it is supposed to be done in the country. So if we are not getting dividends on the agreement, then cancel it we don’t need it, everywhere is porous and evil. The concession thing has destroyed the ports system so they should scrap it.

 

Mr. Stanley Ezenga (NAGAFF PRO)

Already there is this call-up system which is in place and being managed by the Nigerian Navy, I think, for now, that one is working even though there is agitation from truck drivers, they are alleging extortion from these security agencies. But that notwithstanding, the only solution to that menace is the road. You know before when the roads are in good shape, most of all these things are not there. So if you are looking for a proper remedy to the menace of trucks, you have to fix the roads, if they are well fixed, all other problems will disappear. But for now, this call-up system seems to be the solution which is working and I believe it is the best thing that can happen now until maybe these palliative measures are put in place.  

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