• “We Don’t Need Any Task Force For Compliance” ---Truckers
.L-R: Lagos Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Olusegun Ogungbemide, The General Manager, LASTMA, Mr. Olajide Oduyoye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Kamar Olowoshago, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Central Business District, Hon. Sola Giwa, Senior Special Assistant on Political Security Intelligence, Mr. Ayodeji Laurent and Representative of Nigerian Port Authority, Mr. Durowaye Ayodele at the Stakeholders Meeting on Trailer and Articulated Vehicles in and out of Apapa at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja last week.
• “NPA Should Have Waited For The New Port Process Manual Before E-Call Up ” ---Freight Forwarders
Ahead of the planned commencement of the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) electronic call up of trucks coming into Lagos port, stakeholders, especially freight forwarders and truckers have been expressing divergent views over the levy of N10,000 payable for the use of the Truck Transit Park.
The new process is due to start on February 27, 2021.
Operators of the e-call up system, Messrs. Truck Transit Park Limited (TTPL) had informed Shipping Position Daily that truck owners are expected to pay for the use of the truck park.
However, reacting to the amount payable, a freight forwarder and former President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Eugene Nweke urged operators of the project not to place revenue as priority, but to enthrone a well-coordinated, effective and viable trucking system before requesting for a fee.
He also argued that, there must be industry best practice, even as he added that the recently-launched Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) should be allowed to take-off before the NPA e-call up.
“I think there is need for the e- call up to wait a bit, I don’t see why we need to just rush to do things and at the end of the day, we create unnecessary hiccups, all we see now is just how to raise revenue, it’s not about the quantum of revenue but to have a system that is effective and operational and will help the ease of doing business, everyone can go ahead to pay the N10,000 and we may still have the same problem”, he opined.
On his part, Mr. Yinka Bakare a member of the governing council of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) said that if the e –call up is well-regulated, payment of N10,000 will not be an issue.
He said that it costs not less than N200,000 to move a container from Ijora Olopa to the Lagos port.
“The fee is not an issue and I will tell you why, it takes you nothing less than N200,000 to move a container from Ijoro Olopa down to the port, now if we begin to pay N10 000 to have smooth movement into Apapa, I don’t think that will be an issue, if it is well regulated. But the issue is paying that 10,000 and at the end of the day, you still have to pay another thing. We hope that the e-call up works; it’s going to be to the advantage of everybody, but we are waiting for the kick off” he said.
Also speaking, a trucker owner, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa asked for more clarification on what the N10,000 will cover, stating that the N10,000 for parking is on the high side compared to other private garages where N2000 or N3000 is charged, he argued that the fee should not be more than N5000.
“We need more clarification on what and what the N10,000 will cover for, however if it is for the parking alone, it is on the high side compared to other private garages where we park and pay N2,000 to N3,000. It shouldn't be more than N5, 000”.
Also speaking, the National Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Kayode Farinto argued that payment of the N10,000 is logical as long there are no other hidden fees.
“If it is N10, 000, is it not better than the N500,000 we are using to bribe, it is better and that means you are paying to government and you will have receipt, what about un-receipted money we are paying that is over hundreds of thousands of Naira and nobody is saying anything. I don’t think it is too much provided that there is no other money you are paying, so I think this is logical” he said.
On his part, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, chairman Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) also condemned payment of the N10,000 fee attached to the use of the TTP, he said the fee shows that the NPA is only concerned about generating revenue and not to ensure minimum standard of trucks.
“I don’t see any reason for that, I am seeing it as a way to rake-in money and since the exercise is not about ensuring that the trucks meet minimum standard. I am worried about the N10,000 attached to it, so it looks like what the management is concerned about is the N10,000 and not the minimum standard, they could have looked for other way to raise money instead of attaching money to the truck park, but I am in support that every truck that comes to the port must meet the minimum standard as required”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Special Traffic Management Enforcement Team that was created by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to resolve incessant traffic gridlock in Apapa and its environs has reeled some dos and don’ts for haulage operators in Apapa
At a stakeholders’ meeting which held last week in Ikeja, the leader of the team and Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation; Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, declared that the team will henceforth impound any truck that obstructs traffic in Apapa.
Fayinka specifically told the stakeholders which included freight forwarders and truck owners’ associations, that any truck outside the call-up lists generated by the Nigerian Ports Authority would be impounded if caught obstructing the flow of traffic on the roads.
Fayinka also affirmed that the Nigerian Port Authority, the Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Corps and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority are working with his Team, and hand in hand with the information provided to manage traffic into Apapa and prevent the loitering of trailers and trucks along road which damage road infrastructure and also contributes to traffic gridlock.
The representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority at the meeting, Mr Ayodele Durowaye declared that the primary responsibility of NPA was cargo handling, stressing that the responsibility of keeping trucks at truck parks and holding bays during the process of port activities was that of the operators.
But, in an immediate reaction to the Lagos state traffic management team, the association of truck owners has insisted that they do not need the help of the taskforce to resolve Apapa gridlock.
In a chat with our correspondent, the AMATO Chairman said, “why does the government always see the deployment of security operatives as the best solution to Apapa and Tincan traffic gridlock, even when the same strategy has failed to resolve the problem in the past?
He said: ‘When the Presidential Task Team was inaugurated to resolve traffic gridlock in Apapa/Tincan road axis, it eventually led to the institutionalization of bribery and extortion of truckers by different road cabals in collaboration with the security operatives who became a problem instead of providing solution to the problem of traffic they were sent to resolve in Apapa and Tincan port access roads.
“Eventually, the PTT was dissolved and disbanded by the government following an avalanche of complaints of gross abuse of its mandate for selfish ends in the maritime trucking industry.
“As part of efforts to find a lasting solution to traffic congestion in the port access roads, the management of Nigerian Ports Authority has appointed a company called Truck Transit Park Limited (TTPL) to manage Lilypond Transit Park and to introduce an automation system of admitting trucks seamlessly into the ports and also to eliminate traffic congestion which is scheduled to take effect on 27th of February 2021.
“We also as an association came up with a Truck Scheduler System (TSS) for seamless admission of trucks into the ports without hassles. But unfortunately, the federal government is planning the formation of another task team to control traffic in Apapa and Tincan road axis.
“This is a very unfortunate development in that the authority does not know how to holistically resolve problems the way it should. The fact that the government has a hammer does not mean every problem is a nail. There are problems whose solutions do not require the deployment of police and military rifles, but a simple technological approach.
“The TTP "eto" system or TSS technological automation truck call up system can seamlessly admit trucks into the ports, petroleum tank farm depots and factories without trucks clogging the roads and bridges.
“Under this arrangement, all trucks would be made to leave the roads / bridges and go back to their private garages while the Terminals /NPA decide / approve which container or cargo is ready for loading and which truck is in turn to leave its park in order to go and load at ports, factories and depots through the automation system. TAG are also allocated to trucks that are approved by the automation system to make sure that only trucks with approved tags are allowed to move on the ports access roads without clogging the bridges and port access road,s contrast to the manual system of passing trucks where roadsides are converted to truck parks and where hundreds of trucks clog the bridges and port access roads in the struggle to enter ports, factories and tank farms.
“Therefore, we are using this forum to say capital NO to the introduction of battalion Police or any Task Force to be on the road for manual control of traffic into the ports.
“The fact remains that we have had more than enough of various task forces and they have failed to be the solution. rather they came and did whatever they knew best by inflicting various degrees of injuries on truckers and left us half dead and left.
“Therefore, we are saying capital NO to the formation or inauguration of any kind of Committee, please, enough is enough”, he said.