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 Authority.

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.