Charge NPA to speed up e-call system
The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON) has stated that it was unfortunate that port stakeholders in 2020 were completely obfuscated by traffic gridlock as the crucial useful times which they ought to have expended on developing creative ideas that could move the industry forward were wasted in solving traffic gridlock that has no economic benefit to the industry.
The APFFLON warned that any reoccurrence of traffic gridlock on the Lagos port access roads in 2021 would constitute nothing but a distraction to the progress of the industry and the nation.
It is against this background that the APFFLON President, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite urged the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to as a matter of urgency speed up the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system and link Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Port with the railway to ease movement of trucks in and out of the ports in 2021 and beyond.
Ogunojemite said if all the Lagos seaports had been linked with the railway, the port access roads would not be clustered by trucks and cargo delivery would have been faster and cheaper than what is obtainable now.
The APFFLON President urged the NPA in interaction with PortNews in Lagos and noted that shipping companies and terminal operators capitalized on the traffic gridlock which triggered the over 1000 percent increase in the cost of cargo transportation to inflate their charges excessively.
Attributing the gridlock to the on-going reconstruction of the Mile 2-Tin Can Island section of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, lack of holding bays for empties and parking space for trucks within the port premises, Ogunojemite charged the federal government to speed up the reconstruction of the road and mandate shipping lines to provide holding bays for empties while the management of NPA should establish more parking spaces.
“As an association, APFFLON is also concerned about the Federal Government’s (NPA) move to introduce electronic truck call-up system for the port access roads. This will go a long way to dissipate the perennial traffic gridlock on Lagos port access roads and neighboring areas. The shipping lines should be mandated to provide enough holding bays for their empty containers.
’’ The speedy completion of the port access roads, especially the Mile 2/ Tin Can Island port access and other port access roads across the nation that are in a bad state is of utmost importance. We urge the government to do this fast.
‘’Another major infrastructure that would improve freight forwarding activities in 2021 is the railway as an alternative. This wouldn’t only make the roads accessible but also make them last longer and cargo transportation would be cheaper and faster,” said APFFLON leader.
Speaking further, Ogunojemite advocated for strict enforcement of government policies on cargo import and export by the Nigeria Customs Service as he charged the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali to review and improve both customers’ relationship and operations.
As part of efforts towards building the industry for greater productivity, he called for quick legislation of the Nigerian Shippers Council as the port regulator to engender seamless port operations.
While calling on shipping companies and terminal operators to improve on their services and increase their corporate social responsibility, Ogunojemite commended some stakeholders included the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello for their efforts towards repositioning the industry.
The APFFLON leader maintained that the association as an advocacy group would not relent in advocating for good governance in the industry.