By Chinonye Anyatonwu.
The Chairman National Council of Management Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) Tin can Chapter, Alhj. Isa Adua had hit the nail on the head that unless holding bays are provided by Truck owners, Apapa Traffic Gridlock will continue to worsen.
In his speech at a special Congress organized by the Powerful Pen Media Chapel, a brain child of the Maritime Journalist Association of Nigeria (MAJAN) , held in Apapa Lagos tagged, ” APAPA TRAFFIC GRIDDLOCK AND SKYROCKETING INFLATION IN NATIONAL ECONOMY”, maintain that the cause of Apapa gridlock is Man-Made and that 65per cent of total cargo import in the country does not have proper traffic mechanism , most of the truck owners does not have truck park, they mostly park along the road making the road difficulty to access.
He lamented that truck owners are charged #40.000, before dropping their empty containers, noting that Nigeria port were the costliest in doing business in the whole world because of a lot of distortion in the port system which was caused by their management
Alhj. Isa encourage barge operation as one of the best measure to tackle the gridlock, as he called for adequate attention to other ports outside Tin Can and Apapa for a drastic reduction of influx of trucks on the major roads.
Also speaking, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bontex Nigeria Limited, also member of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) Chief Boniface Okoye suggested that Federal Government should call Shipping Companies to order, believing that they know how to handle the situation. He call for a non- violent #ENDSARS policy which he said is the only language they would understand and put things in place.
He criticized the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) for their inability to regulate what the Shippers pay to the Shipping Companies, but rather approves whatever they charge because of pecuniary interest.
According to Chief Okoye, the same group of people called ‘Cabals’ were the owners of the terminals, Shipping Companies and barge operators, making it difficult to regulate the maritime sector, wondering why government had to allow cabals to take over the sector.
He however lamented how he had to pay #600.000 to move his cargo from Tin can Port to Satellite town in Lagos, initially we pay #200.000, from Tin can to Ladipo now we pay #400.000.
Chief Okoye accused the middlemen sponsored by cabals which he said had taken over the business of trucking goods in and out of the ports, and are responsible for the high cost of cargo delivery in Nigeria.
Earlier speaking, the immediate past chairman of the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners(NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inua, stated that about 80% of trucks obstructing the roads are empty containers and called on relevant authorities to mandate Shipping Companies to provide holding bays or truck parks for empty containers to be parked.
He suggested that stakeholders should come together with Shipping Companies and terminal operators to address the problem.
In conclusion, stakeholders and participants at the Powerful Pen Congress advised that Nigerian Ports Authority( NPA) should rise up to their responsibility and Shipping firms should also provide holding bays for containers, and stop the existing Cabals so Apapa Traffic Crisis should come to a halt.
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