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Effective call-up system: Shippers’ Council tasks terminal operators on figure of trucks they can accept daily

Executive Sec. Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council
has called on terminal operators at the nation’s seaports to be precise on the
number of trucks they can accept into their terminals daily, in order to ensure
an effective truck call-up system.

Executive Secretary of the NSC,
Mr. Hassan Bello, stated this on Tuesday at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos, on
how to eliminate traffic gridlock around the port, decongest the port and
ensure efficiency in Nigerian port system.

Represented by Mr. Carjetan Agu,
the Director in charge of consumer services at the council, Bello said it
became necessary that terminals say acceptable number of trucks they can handle
daily, because turning back trucks from entering their facilities resulted in
worse traffic gridlock.

“For the call up system to work,
we must look at the efficiency of the terminal operators, they must tell us the
minimum number of trucks they can accept in a day.

“A situation where they are
refusing to accept trucks into their facilities is causing problems,” he said.

He, however, called on the
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure that the Lillypond Terminal and the Truck
Park at Tin-Can Island Port were put to use for optimal results in tackling the
traffic problem in Apapa.

Bello also urged the Lagos State
Government to intervene by providing mobile courts in Apapa where offenders
would be tried and jailed if found guilty.

He said:  “The first is that the Lillypond terminal and
the truck park at Tin Can Port must be put to use.

“On the issue of corruption, if
it is possible, we will liaise with the Lagos State Government to give us a
mobile court, let there be a mobile court, if you are found guilty, you should
be tried and jailed.”

He said that about forty-eight
truck parks had been nominated for use by the trucks, so that they have a place
to wait until they are called through the call-up system to head for the ports.

Speaking on the occasion also,
Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, represented by Mrs
Olufunmilayo Olotu, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex (LPC), advised truck
drivers to ensure they had a call-up card before heading to the port, while lamenting that truck owners used Lillypond truck park as garage.

She said the traffic gridlock was
as a result of a number of illegalities happening on the roads, such as
security officials driving or escorting trucks while some are collecting
illegal toll.

She appealed to a terminal
operator; APMT, to allow barges berth at its terminal to pick and return empty
containers, as well as to allow shipping companies use their cranes to
complement what they have.

On his part, Mr. Kayode Opeifa,
Executive Vice Chairman, Presidential Task Team on Restoration of Law and Order
in Apapa Port Area, said that Apapa gridlock was driven by corruption.

Opeifa said that stakeholders in
Apapa should desist from unhealthy rivalry and collaborate to tackle the

“Government is not looking for
new ideas. It has consulted with everyone and they know what is happening,” he

He added that the issue of
Lilypond should be solved because it was a critical part to reduce congestion. Also,
if terminals don’t work, congestion will prevail.”

Opeifa added that it was
important to run a transparent call-up system, as he noted that: “Someone is
bringing illegal trucks into Lilypond Park. There is the need for transparent
call-up system than having trucks stationed on the bridge.”

He concluded by calling on
terminal operators to have towing trucks that could help remove broken-down
trucks, as part of initiatives for effective traffic management within the port
city of Apapa.

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