Vehicles at ports to face strict screening from March 1
Owners and drivers of rickety vehicles plying the Nigerian ports routes will no longer have a smooth sail, as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) brace up to clamp down and restrict their movements around the seaports from March 1st.
This was further established as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the FRSC issued a March 1 deadline for the enforcement of the Minimum Standard of Safety and Road Worthiness (MSSRW) for all trucks entering the nation’s six major ports.
Signing an agreement with the FRSC recently, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman said the NPA has the responsibility to protect lives and properties of all stakeholders accessing the ports services. This is done by ensuring that all articulated vehicles and trucks which on daily basis freight containers and assorted bulk cargoes to different parts of the country from the ports meet the required minimum safety standards.
Usman said the NPA is collaborating with the FRSC as part of efforts to put lasting solutions to the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway gridlock.
To ensure full compliance, NPA, she said, is also collaborating with other safety enforcement agencies to achieve safety standard for trucks accessing the ports by adopting the Road Traffic Safety Standardisation Scheme (RTSSS), which include regular inspection and certification of the NPA’ fleet.
“Apapa for example, is home to Nigerian’s two foremost ports, which are being managed by nine terminal operators. Between the two ports, more than 65 per cent of dry cargoes and about 90 per cent of the nation’s liquids (petroleum products) are being handled. This is because it hosts about 35 tank farms in addition to the numerous other businesses that are located in this port city.
“Going by the operational activities highlighted above, there is always heavy vehicular traffic around all port locations and most of these vehicles are not in good state.
“This debilitating vehicular traffic has assumed a frightening dimension in so many port areas. It has led to serious accidents that have claimed innocent lives and several man-hours’ lost in traffic jam. Miscreants and armed robbery and other social vices have been on the increase because of the perennial traffic situation in those areas.
She noted said that past efforts put in place by the Authority, some state governments and terminal operators to ameliorate the situation were to no avail because most of the vehicles plying the road are not roadworthy, and urged the FRSC to ensure that no rickety vehicle entered the port.
Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi said his agency is happy with the NPA’s initiative, and tasked owners of heavy duty trucks operating within and around the ports on the need to adhere strictly to the minimum safety standards. This is to ensure safety of haulage operations, as FRSC will enforce all the aspects of the MoU.
He said adequate and appropriate driver education and speed limiter are vital and would therefore be enforced, adding that from March 1st, the field commands of the agency would be fully mobilised for the enforcement of the law. While commending the NPA for signing the MoU, he enjoined fleet owners and truck owners associations to obey the new rules by the NPA.