Clearing agents and others have expressed divergent apprehension about the newly-introduced electronic call-up system of the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA).
The stakeholders who participated in zoom meeting organised by operators of the truck call up system; Truck Transit Park Limited (TTPL) on Wednesday, took advantage of the forum to reel out a plethora of the fears they have.
The NPA e-call up system kicks off on Saturday and the operators have been dialoguing virtually with different stakeholders.
Specifically, the Wednesday’s interface was a training programme organised for agents on the use of the eto app for the call-up system.
In an earlier invitation to would-be participants, TTPL had acknowledged that, “it is necessary that stakeholders are familiar with the use of eto, the primary technology deployed for the e-call-up”.
In the invite, a copy of which was sighted by one of our correspondents, specifically listed those expected to attend the training to include, “operations, traffic, fleet management and ICT personnel of your organization”.
“They should have the eto app downloaded on a mobile device that they will use during the training. To download the eto app”, the invite advised.
Issues raised by the attendees included: illiteracy among truck drivers who are expected to translate information sent to them concerning their trucks, both before arriving at the truck park and while at the facility awaiting call-up to the terminal.
The participants also raised concern about the delay that may lead to payment of demurrage after a truck has been called into the terminal for loading and there is an unexpected delay of the consignment.
They also asked questions about bonded terminals, while there was a question about the possibility of a clearing agent also being a truck owner. The question was whether a truck owner can also participate on the platform in the name of a freight forwarder.
There was apprehension also about engagement with various stakeholders on issues such as the eto app, location of the truck parks, how to address hiccups at the terminals and the truck parks.
While providing answers to the various questions with a bit of restrain, the representative of TTPL, who simply identified herself as Temiwumi, urged all transporters and clearing agents to register on the platform as a first step.
She also assured that the company will give priority to exports, even as she stated that the company has been holding meetings with different stakeholders.
According to her, the eto app and the electronic call-up system will not affect operation of the various terminals, in the event of demand for demurrage. She however explained that, there is a reasonable length of time for a truck to leave a terminal after it must have been given e call-up to proceed to the terminal. When a truck goes in, and it’s not getting out as expected, it will trigger investigations as to what is delaying it, she said.
The TTPL representative also explained that, the new arrangement is for all terminals, including off-dock facilities.
On the issue of delays at the terminal, she said that, once a truck has been matched with a particular Terminal Delivery Order, that truck can not be matched to another container.
Responding to the question about the possibility of a clearing agent being also a truck owner, Temiwumi explained that a separate account is needed for each company and each entity, saying that, under the new arrangement, an agent’s responsibility is different from that of a truck owner.
She also disclosed that, once a stakeholder gets on the electronic call-up platform, he or she will get to see the approved parks.