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We demand digital call-up system, not task force- Truckers at Port

  •   Seek
    full reconstruction of port access roads from Apapa to Mile 2 
  •     Want
    NPA to control call-up system
  •   Seek electronic board display of template for passing of trucks into ports 

The Association of Maritime Truck Owners
(AMATO), and its sister bodies, has demanded an immediate adoption of a digital
call-up system for trucks operating at the nation’s ports.

AMATO Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said
in an interview on Saturday that the latest experiences of the truck drivers
with the operations of the task force showed that handling the call-up system
manually was a failure.

His association and the other trucking bodies,
therefore, concluded that their operations would be more effective if they
handled the call-up system digitally as had been proposed by the Nigerian Ports

He said: “We’ve invited software developers
and they have started sensitising us on how electronic call-up works.  Next week, we shall expound the scope of the
sensitisation to accommodate even the media, all in preparation for the e-
trucking as promised by the NPA.”

Concerning the operations of the task force
put in place by the government to ensure a smooth flow of trucks into and out
of the port environment, Ogungbemi said the initiative had failed as he alleged
that the task force had rather resorted to aggression, “inflicting various
degree of injuries on us just like what previous task forces did and left us
half dead.”

In that regard, Ogungbemi said “If you take
note you’ll see that some Police hold guns others such as LASTMA, FRSC hold
sticks, they are not waiting to kill snake or lion, but they are waiting for
drivers and their trucks. For goodness sake, past experiences have shown that
setting up task force force have failed to be the solution.”

“Recalled that we have LARPAC, LARPAMU,
Lagos Taskforce, NPA taskforce etc. All failed to be the solution, rather,  they further compounded the problem and impoverished
truckers the more, because the money we supposed to use to maintain the trucks
are been taken away from us directly or indirectly, under the pretext of
maintaining law and order, using government machinery.”

Having made reference to failures by past
task forces for the same purpose, Ogungbemi sought immediate change of the
strategy for smooth flow of truck traffic insisting that they prefer a modern
way of using technology to solve the problem traffic gridlock, particularly in
the port environment.

He said that a key factor had been that the
port environment could no longer accommodate the volume of activities without a
corresponding expansion, an experience he compared to the banking sector, which
became more effective through digitalisation of its operations.

Ogungbe further expressed concerns of the
truckers as he asked: “For how long shall we continue holding on to inauguration
of task force as solution? NPA is clamouring for minimum standard of trucks and
some people are outside there breaking windscreen, lights etc.

“Also, the Nigerian Shippers Council is
seriously working on how to reduce cost of doing business in the ports, and
some people are just there to see how they can frustrate truckers to cough out
their money, all in the name of doing government work.  Or, is arrest, impounding of trucks and
slamming of outrageous bills on truckers a solution?” 

The association, therefore, requested for
direct unconditional release of all trucks arrested, optimal operations to
begin at Lilypond, handing over of traffic control to port regulators, and
importantly, the digitalisation of the truck call-up system, which should also include a transparent system of displaying on  digital boards the template for allowing trucks into the ports. 

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