ETO E-CALL UP: NPA Sets New Take-off Date For Safety Measures For Trucks, Fine-tunes Arrangement

·Truck Owners Kick Against New Minimum Safety Standard

Hadiza Usman

The Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) over the weekend rescinded its earlier decision about enforcement of new safety regulation for trucks coming into Lagos ports.

Acknowledging concerns that were raised by stakeholders about the new safety measures under the electronic call up system, the NPA in a statement issued by operators of the electronic call up; Messrs Truck Transit Park Limited (TTPL), shifted the commencement date from April 23 to May 22, 2021.

In the statement that was sighted by our correspondent, the NPA says: “After consideration of the concerns raised by truck operators on the Minimum Safety Standards (MSS) for trucks, the Authority has decided to move the enforcement date of the policy to May 22, 2021”.

The NPA also acknowledged that it was introducing the new safety measures in accordance with an agreement reached with the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC).

It said that “the MSS derives from a memorandum of understanding with the FRSC to ensure the road worthiness of every truck entering all ports”.

“Although the MSS was first introduced in 2019, this extension is to give operators a clear four-week opportunity to put their vehicles in the required safety condition ahead of enforcement.”, it added.

Even in the face of the development as regards the new safety standards for trucks coming into the ports, truck owners have also expressed fresh fears.

Their grouse is with not only with the safety measures, but also with the plans to introduce age limits for trucks coming into the ports.

The truck owners have pointedly kicked against the NPA’s truck Minimum Safety Standards, saying that it is a ploy to raise fresh charges on the trucks.

The new MSS regime, which stipulated safety measures for trucks came was to come into effect on Friday April 23, 2021.

In an earlier statement that was issued, the NPA had said that, the new rule is “in a bid to ensure safety of lives within the ports corridor”.

In the statement, the NPA also said that it was considering introducing age limit for trucks coming into Lagos ports to load cargoes.

While listing the new trucks’ safety measures, it said “kindly note that any truck confirmed by NPA to have met the minimum safety standards and have been given an MSS certificate will continue to be active on eto. However, trucks which are yet to meet the minimum safety standard and yet to get their certificate will be suspended until they have met all the MSS requirements set by NPA”.

Apart from several requirements under the new MSS regime, “the truck head must be neat and generally presentable and all operational devices and control in good working condition. The truck windscreen must be double-glazed; no plastic or cracked windscreen. The driver and passenger seat must be in good condition with appropriate safety devices e.g. safety belt”

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi, though noted that the minimum safety measure is a good development, but kicked against attaching any fee to the exercise.

He also queried some of the standards which the NPA said the trucks must meet before gaining access into the port.

While expressing support for the measures, he said, “NPA rolled out a minimum standard that a truck must meet before it can be allowed to enter the port, according to them they said it has to do with standard and safety measures, and I know no level is too much to go to ensure safety of lives and property. I am in support that we should do everything possible to make sure that our roads, our vehicles and lives are safe, I cannot compromise on that”.

He however queried the modalities. “The way they are trying to go about it is out of it; out of it in the sense that the condition they rolled out are just too grievous; grievous in the sense that in Nigeria we don’t manufacture trucks, we are only relying on fairly-used trucks that find their ways to Nigeria, and this fairly-used are the ones that are outdated in one country, so how will you expect the trucks to be standard”, he stressed.

“And again Nigeria is a developing country and we cannot equate ourselves with a developed country and that is why in my opinion, NPA management should review those conditions by which they want trucks to meet before they come into the port”.

On his part, Abdullahi Inuwa, a truck owner and member of the National Association of Truck Owners (NARTO) also argued that there is need for NPA to review the standard.

“A standard truck is an asset to the owner, nobody will be happy to see his truck impounded, but at the same time, I want them (NPA) to look into the standard for review”, he said.

The NPA had in the new guidelines maintained that, “for trailer main body (carriage unit), the carriage must be appropriate for the load i.e. flat bed for containerize goods while bucket rigid body for general goods. The chassis of the trailer must be of adequate strength for the tonnage it is designed to carry. The tonnage of the load should be equal or less than the axle load carrying capacity. The carriage unit must be fitted with reflector, trafficators and warning signs.”

“No worn out tyres. Tyres must have a minimum thread of 5mm depth. There should be no visible cut/sowing/rethreading of tyres. Tyres should be gauged to the recommended pressures. • All wheel studs and nuts must be in place. All Trucks must carry a minimum of two spare tyres of good quality”

It added that, “both foot and hand brakes must be active, while Lifting jack must be in good working condition.”

Other conditions, as spelt out in the new requirements are: WEDGES: A minimum of two (2) nos. wedges must be on the Truck.

ENGINE: • Starting and stopping of an engine must be by the driver via the ignition key and stop button or switch respectively. • Engine radiator must be covered at all times without overheating sign. • Excessive engine exhaust smoke is not acceptable. • Engine generally must be washed periodically.

BATTERY: • Battery compartment must be well secured. • It should be insulated and fixed.

BRAKE LIGHTS: • All brake lights must be functional. • The brake unit must contain the brake lights reflectors. • The trailer head and carriage unit must also have reflector units.

TRAFFICATORS: • Every vehicle must be fitted with functional and visible trafficators (right & left) both at the trailer head and at the Container Carriage Units.

FIRE EXTINGUISHER: • Fire extinguishers must be available and functional.

WARNING DEVICE: • The horn must be functionally audible. • Horn must meet the road safety standard. • The trailer must be fitted with a functional amber-revolving light. • Two caution signs with warning signal/light must be carried on the truck.

FUEL TANK: • Must be equipped with properly secured and functional fuel cover.

TWIST LOCKS: • The twist locks for a 20-footer container should be 4 standard Container twist locks while that of 40-footer container Carrier should be 8 standard twist locks. • All twist locks must be collapsible type. • In case of billets, pipes and other general cargo carriages, the carriage must be fixed with tension ropes and tensioner.

TRAILER LANDING LEGS: • The landing legs of trailer must have functional winding device. • The legs must be able to sustain load. • The functional gear winner must be greased at all times,” the vehicle must have Road Traffic Safety Standardization Scheme (RTSSS) Certificate of FRSC. • The vehicle must have speed limiter installed on it.”

“In addition to the above minimum conditions, management at a later date may consider the possibility of fixing age limit for all Trucks coming into the Port for operation”, the statement added.