THE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has certified not less than 1,500 trucks as part of measures to enforce minimum standards for operators at Lagos seaports
According to NPA, the development is expected to bring sanity to the movement of goods within and around the ports.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in Lagos, NPA’s General Manager in charge of Western Ports, Chief Michael Ajayi said the exercise would afford NPA the opportunity to collate data.
Explaining further, Ajayi said: “This exercise will afford NPA the opportunity of data collation for traffic and infrastructure planning process and to prevent sharp practices like theft and to serve as security measure to prevent any threat to security in the ports in compliance with the International Ships & Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS Code)”.
He added: “We are here to ask for your cooperation and to inform your members not to patronise any truck without NPA sticker as such truck has not passed through our road worthiness certification exercise.
“With effect from March 1st, 2016, all trucks without NPA sticker will not be allowed into the port,” said Ajayi.
He also used the opportunity to inform agents that plans were ongoing to construct some parts of the road leading to the ports.
Meanwhile, Ajayi has challenged licensed customs agents to deploy Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for their day-to-day activities.
In his response, the National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu blamed touts and unwanted persons for the negative image associated with clearing agents at the port.
The National President of NAGAFF, Chief Eugene Nweke who received Ajayi and his team appealed to NPA to prevail on truck operators to adopt uniform charges.
Already, NPA has raised a committee charged with the responsibility of investigating alleged extortion of truck drivers by security personnel at the seaports in Lagos state.
Under the chairmanship of Ajayi, the committee is also expected to address truck driver’s allegation of extortion at Seaports entrance gates and along Port access roads within the Lagos Ports Corridor.
Memberships of the Committee are drawn from the NPA truckers Unions, fleet operators, and Security Agencies.
According to NPA, truckers union represented on the Committee include representatives of Truck Owners Unions, Association of Maritime Transport Owners (AMARTO), Joint Council of Seaport Truck Operators (JACOST), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Road Transport Employees association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and Truck Drivers Unit of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
Ajayi explained that the composition of the Committee became necessary following repeated complaints by truck drivers of alleged extortion by security operatives at the Seaport entrance in Lagos.
Pledging to verify all allegations, Ajayi explained that the Committee is determined to refer any erring security personnel or agency to appropriate law enforcement agencies for necessary action.
The truck drivers had blamed alleged extortion for the unending vehicular traffic in the Apapa Port vicinity, pointing out that the frequent cases of e extortion has made loading in Lagos Ports a nightmare for both drivers and transport agents.
Meanwhile, NPA has reiterated its determination to always cater for the welfare of workers.
Ajayi enjoined all categories of workers in the organisation to always strive to offer their best in the discharge of their duties.
Speaking before he commissioned the refurbished Break Lounge for the security personnel of the Lagos Port Complex [LPC] Apapa, Ajayi said: “To whom much is given much is expected.”
He urged the security personnel of the Ports who are the direct beneficiaries of the Lounge, to realise the sensitive position they occupy in the management’s vision of providing an efficient Ports service in a safe, secured and Customer friendly environment.