...Threaten Withdrawal Of Service
Truckers under the auspices of Tin Can Island Transporter Operators have embarked on a three day protest to draw the attention of the federal and state governments on the anomalies affecting the newly introduced electronic call up system by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) .
This is coming barely a month NPA introduced the call up system aimed at addressing the traffic situation along the port corridor and to further promote trade facilitation.
The truck owners also threatened withdrawal of services from the nation’s seaport operations if the concerned authorities failed to yield to their demands.
Addressing the mammoth crowd at Tin Can Island Port second gate on Tuesday, as part of day-two protest, Coordinator of the transportation group, Pastor Sylvester Keshiro alleged that the call up system has failed to address the gridlock , alleging that the process was fraudulent.
Keshiro who is a chieftain of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Tin Can Island Port chapel, maintained that the presence of security agencies along the Mile2-Sunrise corridor poses serious menace to the operators.
According to him, the various holding bays designated for trucks were allegedly extorting truck owners with unimaginable and arbitrary charges.
He noted that truckers were forced to make U-turn at some few kilometers away from the port despite all necessary arrangements have been concluded through ETO but added that the truck owners might be forced to withdraw their service if the concerned authorities fail to address the anomalies .
“What we are asking the government to do for us is that NPA should go out with transporters to check if truly the designated holding bays are functioning or not.
“Again, let the NPA investigate the amount payable for empty containers at the holding bays ; at least with these two facts, they will know that the holding bays and the call up system in place is not functioning.
“We also want NPA to join us and visit Sunrise bus stop and see things themselves and look at how to amend their ways.
The truck owner ,while expressing the additional charges paid by transporters , he alleged that none of the shipping companies have functional holding bays
The coordinator lamented that operators of designated the holding however, charge the truckers as high as N180,000 after 48hours.
While lamenting about the alleged multiple extortion by security agencies deployed to monitor the free flow vehicular movement along the corridor, Keshiro called on the government to monitor activities at the Sunrise -Mile 2 vehemently noting that the combined operatives of LASTMA, Police, NPA personnel were milking transporters out of their hard earn monies.
On his part, Comrade Patrick Okonkwo explained that the e-call up was not supposed to attract additional cost from the truck operators but added that the designinated holding bay collect additional money after 48hrs.
Okonkwo stressed that the additional 16,000 were deducted as demurrage charges after 48hrs , a situation the trucker alleged that the e-call up system is a fraud.
He also reaffirmed that most of the shipping companies lack holding bays and it has affected the operations of truckers , thus cause undue delay on the movement of trucks out of the port.
“E-Call system is fraudulent because we are not supposed to pay any form of money. NPA said they want to decongest Apapa that everybody should go to the parks, which is a welcome development. You can stay in your park and generate your call up with your Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) but that is not what is obtainable, so therefore the call up system is not free and that is why we say it is fraudulent. The last transaction I did is N18,000.
”The call up system is supposed to be by a trip and not on 48hrs basis as instructed by the NPA”,he noted.
Also speaking during the protest at TCIPC, Comrade Francis Okechukwu lauded the innovation of the e-call up system introduced by the NPA but lamented that truckers were faced with multiple extortions by the government agencies deployed to the corridor.
The truck owner decried the arrangement put in place by the NPA saying that the 48hrs expiration of the call up system must be reviewed.
“We want the government to make the e-call up system by a trip and not 48hours on basis. The 48hours expiration of the call up system makes no meaning because the roads are not in good condition while returning empty containers back to the port.”