The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it is putting finishing touches to plans to introduce the electronic call-up system for trucks plying the Onne Port in Rivers State.
The Acting Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko disclosed this on Thursday during a meeting with port service providers shortly after a facility assessment tour of the Onne and Rivers Ports in Port Harcourt Rivers State.
NPA first introduced the electronic call-up system for trucks at the ports in Lagos on February 27, 2021. The e-call up system was launched alongside an app called eto, which truckers are expected to use to book turns to enter the port.
Bello-Koko said the introduction of the electronic call-up system in Onne Port has become imperative in the face of increasing cargo volumes and the growing number of trucks entering the port.
“We have also observed that Onne has transformed into a very busy gateway. Unfortunately, unauthorised persons have begun to find their way into the port to vandalise assets belonging to the authority.
“We all have noticed in recent months the upsurge in cargo traffic at Onne, there has been an improvement in the traffic here and there is a need to ensure that what is experienced in Lagos does not repeat itself here in terms of traffic congestion and the access roads, which must be free of gridlocks.
“In line with our infrastructure development and modernisation agenda, we have come here to inspect the port internal road network because we must develop the necessary infrastructure that would support and sustain the increasing cargo volumes at Onne Port and other port locations,” the NPA MD said.
He also said that a truck terminal would be built outside the port before the introduction of the new truck call up system.
Bello-Koko also assured of NPA’s resolve to improve service quality and delivery at the Eastern ports, so that the ports can serve as competitive alternatives to the ports in Lagos.
He said that NPA on behalf of its supervising ministry – the Federal Ministry of Transportation – was working with relevant agencies towards reducing the cost of clearing of imports and handling of non-oil exports, to complement the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government.
He disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the first segment of the dual carriage road for the evacuation of cargo covering a distance of 1.2 km in Onne Port. It is expected that the next segment will be executed this year as provided in the 2022 budget.
Bello-Koko said the NPA management was considering granting new tariff reliefs at some eastern ports, especially Calabar port, to make the ports more attractive to shipping lines and cargo owners.