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 gridlock.

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

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.