Lagos Port Chaos: NPA To Centralize Truck Call-up System
As part of efforts to curb the numerous challenges associated with the manual call-up system at the Lagos ports, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is set to operate one centralized truck call-up owned and managed by the Authority, from Thursday this week.
The Authority revealed this during a meeting it organized to inform stakeholders that the Lilypond and Tin Can Second Gate truck parks would be operational from Thursday and Friday this week, respectively.
According to NPA’s Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr. Sekonte Davies the utilization of both facilities as transit truck parks are part of the immediate Presidential measures to address the perenial port gridlock at Lagos ports.
Recall that truckers and other stakeholders have been stunned at the mismanagement of the former manual truck call-up system, a situation which fanned the flames of corruption and extortion by security operatives along the port access routes and created businesses for private operators of call-up without truck parks.
According to the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the previous manual truck call-up system was only successful for the maiden three weeks before the Nigerian Navy disrupted it with multiplicity of unverified truck parks approved as designated points to obtain call-ups that enable trucks access the ports.
The previous system led to the sale of truck call-ups for N20,000 to N30,000 at the ports by the over two-hundred (200) fake, yet registered parties allegedly registered by the Nigerian Navy.
Nevertheless, Dr. Sekonte Davies told MMS Plus that the new system would see NPA solely own and manage the disbursement of truck call-ups to eliminate the challenges in the former procedure.
The NPA boss also beckoned on terminal operators and shipping companies to synergize their procedures in order to make the new system efficient, while he admonished them to be honest in their statements on the capacity of their holding bays and terminals.
“There is no point telling us you can handle 300 trucks or containers when you only have the capacity to absorb 30. This will only make the process inefficient” he said.
He stressed that the utilization of the Tin Can and Lilypond truck parks would be as transit parks for trucks who already had businesses at the ports, noting that the Authority would prioritize refers, empty containers and export.
Reeling off what he described as key performance indicators for the new system, Dr. Davies highlighted the removal of all port bound trucks carrying containers on and beneath the bridges, prioritize reefers, empties and export, ensure all trucks carrying containers enter the ports.
Others are; authorize security operatives to remove trucks milling around the port environment, using authorized holding bays for shipping companies as take off points for the call-up system, oversight function on shipping companies based on space availability and export procedure sensitization for agricultural produce.
Speaking on behalf of truck owners, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi described the development as the most result-oriented approach by the government to address the issue of haphazard movement of trucks along the port corridor.
The trucking boss admonished the Authority to ensure transparency in the new system, while he assured that his association as well as other trucking groups would collaborate with NPA to make the process successful.
Meanwhile, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Hajia Aisha Ali Ibrahim called on the industry stakeholders to abide by the new order, noting that the Authority had the responsibility to ensure compliance to the Presidential directives to ease business at the ports.
The NPA Executive Director had also revealed that the defaulting truckers would be fined N20,000 after their trucks would have been towed by the Authority if found in the port environs without call-up.