July 12, 2018.
A very stiff sanction and penalties awaits all erring Shipping Companies and Terminal Operators for their failure to comply with an agreement with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the usage of holding bays.
According to Assistant, General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Isah Suwaid, in a statement, he explained that: “The agreement which was reached in November, 2017 between the Shipping Companies, Terminal Operators and the NPA, compelled all Shipping Companies and Terminal Operators to provide holding bays for their trucks and containers through the newly adopted call-up system.
“These were part of the resolutions adopted at the end of two meetings between the Managing Director NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman and the leadership of Truck drivers and Maritime Workers Union in response to recent protests by trucks drivers at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and Tin Can Island Port (TCIP).”
He said the Managing Director informed the meeting on Wednesday (11th July, 2018) that the Authority has launched an investigation into the level of compliance or non-compliance to the agreements reached between the Authority, Shipping Companies and Terminal Operators warning that “any company found to have contravened this agreement will be sanctioned”.
On the newly adopted call-up system for trucks accessing the port, Hadiza Usman explained that the Authority had consulted widely with all stakeholders before the introduction of the system, adding that the system has proved to be the most effective way of managing traffic in the Apapa axis till date.
Commenting on complaints of the allegation of extortion by some security agencies, the Managing Director assured that the Authority would investigate the allegation and culprits would be made to face the appropriate provision of the law.
Both the chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi and the President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adeyanju Waheed while expressing their support for the call-up system now in place for the trucks, said that the system has sanitized traffic congestion on the Apapa axis.
The meeting between the NPA Management and the Union leadership was in furtherance to getting amicable solution to issues arising from the operation of the call-up system as part of the Authority’s Traffic Management Strategy, alleged extortion by security agencies and the utilisation of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators as defined by the November, 2017 agreement.