The issue of port pass is one of the most pertinent worries of a freight forwarder in Nigeria and it was a recurring issue when the General Manager, Western Ports of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Michael Ajayi yesterday paid working visits to the headquarters of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).
During the interactive session at NAGAFF, Mr. Simeon Nwonu lamented his frustration at the NPA’s port pass. He suggested that since the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) was playing the role of regulating freight forwarding professionals, agents with CRFFN identity cards should be allowed entry into the ports.
“The NPA should give due respect and cognizance of CRFFN as our regulator and those who possess CRFFN identity cards should have full access to the ports.” Nwonu said.
In his response to this difficulty, Chief Ajayi revealed that NPA is planning introduce a new digital access control system at the ports where biometric identity cards will be utilized to gain entry into the ports.
Chief Ajayi stated that his visit was aimed at soliciting the support of agents in NPA’s bid towards ensuring only roadworthy trucks with NPA stickers are patronized in order to rid the ports of rickety trucks.Ajayi said that the truck certification exercise which commenced on February 1st has seen NPA register and certify about 1,500 trucks for operations at the ports in Lagos.
“We are here to ask for your cooperation and to inform your members not to patronize any truck without NPA sticker as such truck has not passed through our road worthiness certification exercise. With effect from March 1st 2016, all trucks without NPA sticker will not be allowed into the port,” Ajayi said.
Ajayi also expressed hope that the exercise will afford NPA the opportunity of data collation for traffic and infrastructure planning process and to serve as security measure to prevent any threat to security in the ports in compliance with the International Ships & Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS Code).
The National President of NAGAFF, Chief Eugene Nweke applauded NPA for setting up a committee to investigate the extortion of truck drivers by security operatives but he lamented that members of NAGAFF and ANLCA were not part of the committee.
“While we commend your efforts towards truck certification, we hear that you set up committees for several issues concerning the ports and we always look forward to being invited into these committees. There is one to investigate extortion of truck drivers and we are the ones who pay these monies, so we should be in this committee and several others”
Nweke also commended NPA on truck certification as he shared similar views that only roadworthy trucks should be allowed into the ports.
Ajayi had earlier informed the freight forwarders that Dangote Group had promised to fix parts of the Apapa road (from the Foot Bridge down to the Port).
By Kenneth Jukpor