Truckers under the auspices of Tin Can Island Transporter Operators have said that the electronic call-up system has failed to address the gridlock, alleging that the process was fraudulent.
To that effect, they began on a three-day protest on Tuesday to draw the attention of the federal and state government to the anomalies affecting the electronic call system recently introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority.
This is coming barely a month since the NPA introduced the e call-up system aimed at addressing the traffic situation along the Apapa port corridor and to further promote trade facilitation.
The truck owners also threatened to withdraw their services from the nation’s seaport if the concerned authorities failed to yield to their demands.
During the protest on Tuesday, they displayed placards that read: “NPA must provide truck parks,” “Check activities at Sunrise Bus-stop,” “We reject garage select approvals.”
The coordinator of the transportation group, Sylvester Keshiro, who addressed the crowd at Tin Can Island Port second gate on Tuesday said the presence of security agencies along the Mile2-Sunrise corridor posed a serious menace to the operators.
Keshiro, who is also a chieftain of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, said the various holding bays designated for trucks were allegedly extorting truck owners with unimaginable and arbitrary charges.
He said, “What we are asking the government to do for us is that NPA should go out with transporters to check if truly the designated holding bays are functioning or not.
“Again, let the NPA investigate the amount payable for empty containers at the holding bays; at least with these two facts, they will know that the holding bays and the call up system in place are not functioning.
“We also want the NPA to join us and visit Sunrise bus stop and see things themselves and look at how to amend their ways.”
The coordinator lamented that operators of designated holding bays charged the truckers as high as N180,000 after 48 hours.
Another transporter, Patrick Okonkwo explained that the e-call up was not supposed to attract additional cost from the truck operators but added that the designated holding bay collect additional money after 48 hours.
Okonkwo stressed that an additional N16,000 were deducted as demurrage charges after 48 hours, a situation the trucker alleged as fraudulent.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, has said that the electronic call-up system introduced to facilitate cargo clearance has not been hacked.
Speaking on a radio programme, Bala-Usman acknowledged that several people had tried to circumvent the system.
However, she added, the authority was working on how to forestall any hijack of that manner.
Bala-Usman said that the authority had suspended the trucks accessing the ports that have export cargo with effect from Monday.
She stressed that all export cargoes for two weeks would not be allowed access into the ports as a backlog of 600 trucks had already been created on the truck access roads.
She said, “We have a backlog of over 600 trucks that approached the ports, coming out of the truck parks and are currently in that location within the port corridors and Lilypond.