Sanity returns to Lagos ports as e-call-up begins
As the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) kicks off the electronic-call-up system in Lagos ports, stakeholders are optimistic that the scheme will herald a new dawn in ports’ operations.
Already, the truck owners have ordered immediate removal of trucks from the ports access road, while NPA has registered scores of them on the Eto platform.
The Guardian’s visit to the port on Monday showed that commuters can now move freely in and out of Apapa and TinCan Island ports in Lagos.
Officials of Lagos State government were seen co-ordinating traffic to ensure easy access to the ports, while trucks and tanker vehicles were only allowed to park on one lane of the express road while they wait for their turn to load.
Meanwhile, road construction has continued at Westminister outward Apapa towards Berger. The motorcycle riders now enjoy free ride with reduction in charges.
President, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Remi Odugbemi, said in a notice to all truck owners tagged: “Operation move your trucks away from roads and bridges. Go to your garages and wait until you are called to come.”
Also, Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Uche Ejesieme, in a chat with The Guardian said the road was free to traffic now, urging the government to sustain the system.
He said the easy access to the port encouraged movement of cargoes and enhanced trade facilitation. National Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, urged the NPA management to be steadfast in enforcing the e-call-up system.
According to him, the ongoing construction of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway must also be completed in good time because no call-up system without a good road. Farinto said shipping companies must be compelled to have a functional holding bay for return of empty containers.
In the same vein, Vice Chairman, National Association of Transport Owners (NARTO), Dry Cargo Section, Abdullahi Inuwa, said: “If started in good faith, we assure that we (stakeholders) should co-operate and allow it work then we will get good result. Actually, if it takes off successfully, it will eradicate corruption, no human contact and other artificial bottleneck. So, NARTO wishes the authority a successful take-off.”
Earlier, Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, has declared that trucks not registered under ‘Eto’, the electronic truck-call up app, would not have access to the ports.
Usman, who spoke during a webinar, said that trucks found parking on any part of the ports’ access roads when the scheme takes off, would be impounded.
She said that trucks should be parked at designated parks from where they would be called into the ports when their cargo is ready for pick.
As part of the operation of the ‘Eto’ app, the NPA boss said that the Authority, in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, had licensed seven parks where trucks could be stationed and invited into the ports when their cargoes are ready for pick up.