·Asks, ‘Why License Tank Farms Without Holding Bay, Why Exclude Tankers From E-Call Up?’
The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has spoken in defence of its members whose trucks are being accused for allegedly being responsible for the perennial traffic in Apapa.
The blame on petroleum product tankers have become louder since the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) introduced the electronic call up system for trucks.
Stakeholders have correctly noticed that the traffic gridlock into Apapa, especially from Mile 2 to Tin Can axis is being caused by petroleum product tankers approaching the tank farms.
Putting up a strong defence for the tankers, the Executive Secretary of NARTO; Mr Aloga Ogbogo blamed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) for the traffic gridlock that has bedeviled the port city of Apapa in Lagos.
Specifically, Mr Ogbogo blamed the DPR for licensing tank farms owners without having holding bays, and lampooned the NPA for singling out dry cargo trucks for the electronic call-up, even as he stated that petroleum tanker drivers ought to be part of the electronic call up system of the government.
In his words: “DPR says for you to have a tank farm you must have a truck holding bay. So why do they go ahead to approve tank farms that do not have truck holding bay, then if the pipelines again were functioning, you think these thugs will be there? They won’t be there. If they are coming and DPR says all tank farms must have trunk holding bay, the tankers come and they load from there and move out”.
He however argued that, lack of functional pipelines is the major reason the oil tankers have taken over the road.
According to him, government’s inability to provide security for petroleum products pipelines has led to the touts seen on the roads demanding money from oil tanker drivers thereby leading to the traffic congestion in and around the Apapa port.
Going forward, he urged government not to licensed tank farms that do not provide holding bays for tankers, even as he added that there is need to make pipelines functional again, so that the petroleum products can be conveyed through pipelines.
He also added that there is need to decentralized location of tank farms in the country, noting that there are about 70 tank farms in Apapa alone.
The NARTO scribe urged the NPA to make the e- call an all-inclusive one for both dry cargoes and wet cargoes.
“The e-call up should be all-inclusive, why was it made for dry cargoes alone, there is no way you can barb someone’s head in his absence, so when you want to plan the programme you will include everybody including petroleum tanker drivers, then you sit down and map out the strategy, so you call everybody including NARTO, because every tankers you see there, belongs to NARTO members, I am sure you are aware that there was going to be a strike action by petroleum tankers drivers that was averted, if not, there would be scarcity”, he said.
Arguing further, he stressed, “then again, why must Apapa alone have a concentration of close to 70 tank farms? Apapa alone has a concentration of 70 tank farms. The two biggest ports in the country are also in Apapa. Dangote is in Apapa; Flourmill is in Apapa”
“In the first instance, those tankers that you’re seeing on the highway are as a result of our pipelines not working, if the pipeline were functioning, they shouldn’t be there in the first place. Petroleum products are meant to be conveyed through pipelines, because it is as a result of government inability to provide security for the pipelines that we find those thugs coming there”
“Government should not approve tank farms that do not have holding bay, then government should make the pipelines functional, so that the petroleum products can be conveyed through pipelines. The immediate solution is for the tank farm owners to have holding bays like shipping companies”, he stated.