By Kenneth Jukpor
As part of efforts to enhance the ease of doing business at the nation’s ports, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) is set to agree uniform freight rates for truck haulage across the country in collaboration with the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO).
The Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello made this known when executive members of AMATO paid a courtesy visit to the Council’s headquarters, led by the Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi.
Hassan Bello stressed that there was a dire need to have unified charges for truck haulage, even as he noted that such prices should be fair to the importers/ exporters and the truckers.
Bello said, “There is need to regulate the prices for road transportation of goods across the nation to have some form of stability and predictability in the prices. Your standards as well as your charges is important to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council because this would have effect on the ease of doing business in the country. This doesn’t mean that if you say the price is N100 for instance, we cannot say take it to N150, considering the roads and the distance.”
Meanwhile, the Shippers’ Council boss also lamented that the Nigerian government hasn’t paid sufficient attention to truckers, noting that they contribute about 80% to the nation’s trade.
He maintained that transportation of cargo from the ports to various parts of the country calls for expertise, highlighting roadworthy vehicles and modern electronic traffic systems as the headway to resolving the problem of traffic congestion at the nation’s ports.
“We know the importance of trucking and truckers to a nation’s economy, especially in Nigeria where the other modes of evacuating cargoes from the ports haven’t been fully harnessed. This is why we continue to accord you the respect that you deserve. However, we need modern traffic systems at the ports and there must be a holding-bay and other avenues for moving cargoes out of the ports.
“Transportation of cargo calls for expertise and we must have good vehicles to ensure that the safety of goods is guaranteed. Trucking accounts for about 80% of the nation’s trade and an association like AMATO is key to trucking business in the country.” Bello said.
However, earlier in his speech, the AMATO Chairman had called the attention of the Executive Secretary to a proposed strategic location for a truck park which could accommodate over 1500 trucks.
However, he lamented that the owner of the prized facility was demanding an exorbitant sum, whilst the owner has also insisted on outright payment.
Chief Remi, who revealed that the proposed truck park is around Orile and 2-3km away from the Apapa and Tin Can ports, also stated that the provision of a truck park would eliminate more than 50% of the problems associated with trucking at the ports.