By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos, April 28, 2021 The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has appealed to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to make its ‘call-up system’ for trucks to be totally automated and impactful.
Mr Remi Ogungbemi, Chairman of AMATO made the appeal in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.
Ogungbemi observed that improper coordination and indiscriminate release of trucks from Pre-gates to either transit park or directly into the ports and other loading points were causing the rowdiness on the road.
Naija247news reports that indiscriminate parking of trailers has resurfaced around Costain, Ijora and Orile-Iganmu axis leading to the Apapa ports in the last few days.
According to Ogungbemi, the electronic call-up system (also refers to as ETO) is very good but is being misapplied.
“We want it to be totally automated, to have no human interference.
“Unfortunately, it is currently having human interference and this has led it being compromised.
“The system is being filled with many irregularities and that is why the electronic system is not working.
“We are in a technology age and so we should use this technology to address these things.
“We should do things in a way that all trucks that are coming must be programmed.
“Before they leave their garage, the drivers must receive messages indicating that it is their turn to come into the port.
“There should be an identification number and card to recognise and identify a truck that has been called,’’ Ogungbemi told Naija247news
He attributed the cause of the rowdiness to the volume of goods coming into the port and stressing the existing infrastructure.
AMATO boss remarked that there is a need to use the electronic system to regulate the movement of these trucks so that all the rowdiness can disappear.
He said that on April 26, the association held a meeting with the management of NPA and Lagos state officials to let them know where the shoe had been pinching the truck owners.
He said that the persistent demand for money from drivers at various check-points by security operatives at the port and refusal to pay tips has always resulted to claim that tickets have expired and maltreatment of drivers.
He listed other maltreatment on drivers as smashing of mirrors and other components of trucks, forceful turning back of trucks with valid ETO tickets and calling LASMA to tow the truck away, leading to chaos on the road.
“Unfortunately, the NPA, Lagos state and the Truck and Transit Park Limited (TTP) had divided interest; they do not have the same objectives.
“I cannot imagine why the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) will tow ETO-ticket bearing trucks indiscriminately and demanding between N150,000 and N250,000.
“This shows that their interest is money made from the system,’’ he said.
The AMATO chairman urged the NPA/Police operative at the port gates to stop the habit of delaying the passage of trucks into the ports even when spaces are available inside the port.
“NPA should remodify and give the Minimum Safety Standard (MSS) arrangement a human face in a way that conforms to the nature and dynamics of Nigeria as a developing country.
“The monetary charges attached to MSS should be removed because ETO charges should be enough to take care of such,’’ Naija247news quotes him as saying.
He added that the association looks forward to the implementation of its demand for a good working relationship, peaceful and conducive working environment.