Fresh crisis brews over truck call-up system

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Apapa gridlock: Reps to probe alleged extortion of truck drivers by security operatives

AMATO consults stakeholders for change
Trucks are being released illegally – Port Manager

Godfrey Bivbere

THERE are indications that the call-up system designed to streamline truck movements and eliminate traffic congestion at the ports’ access roads has run into fresh crisis.

The Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO, which disclosed this, said the system is obsolete and has failed to address the problem as designed.

AMATO, Vanguard Maritime Reports, learnt, is already engaging stakeholders including government agencies such as the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, to effect a change. A statement signed by AMATO President, Remi Ogungbemi, said there has been some changes in the maritime logistics chain but that some structures and systems have remained stagnant.

Apparently confirming the situation, the immediate past Port Manager of Tin-can Island Port, Abubakar Umar, in an interview with Vanguard Maritime Report, accused some persons of illegally releasing trucks outside the call-up system to disrupt the traffic management structure put in place at the port.

Ogungbemi stated: “In view of the ongoing unfair/secrecy in the manner by which trucks are being admitted into the ports via Transit Parks and the resultant implications, the system we are using has become obsolete due to changes that had occurred at various levels. Unfortunately, some structures that are supposed to change or expand remained stagnant, hence the anomalies that beget corruption, extortion, favouritism, greed, priorities, man-know-man arrangement, etc.

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“In the light of the above, there is need for urgent restructuring, reformation and modernisation of the system through which trucks are being admitted into various loading points, be it in the ports or factories around Apapa, including Dangote, BUA, Flour Mills of Nigeria and all Petroleum Tank-farms.

“Beneficiaries from the rotten system would not like re-modernisation but let us remain committed to achieving sanity, orderliness and peaceful/conducive working environment”.

Umar said: “Look at the roads that are presently taking more volume, we have to manage them. Sometimes illegal ones are released to us and we have to solve the situation. Yes, illegal trucks that are coming from illegal destinations. They push them and because we do not have enough space for such trucks to turn; we have to manage them but sometimes when we discover them early, we try to push them back to where they are coming from.

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“Look at the kind of tension, the kind of pressure that is going on. You know we always work closely with the terminal operators and that is why we are able to coordinate it to ensure that we do not have total lock-down because if a terminal says I can only take 100 from a particular line, we let them know and those are the ones that are allowed in.

“The Traffic Manager is always up and doing, monitoring the whole operation together with the Port Security Officer and you see these are the things that do assist. The ones that we have to call the task team we do and the ones that we have to do we do ourselves.”

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