There are indications that haulage fairs charged by truck owners at Nigerian ports has dropped by 40%, following the reduction in the traffic gridlock on the port access roads.
In an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND NEWS in his office yesterday, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr Hassan Bello noted that the reduction in truck charges is as a result of efforts by the Presidential Task Force monitoring the traffic.
Bello also attributed the drop to the fact that truck drivers are no longer being extorted by security agencies, saying that extortion had hitherto forced the truckers to hike their fares.
He said “The haulage rate was artificial because it was occasioned by the traffic, now that the traffic is leaving and there is order and sanity, the traffic rate has dropped”
“Also, there is no extortion, nobody is being extorted, it is the extortion that is usually transfered to the final consumer, but since they don’t have extortion again, we don’t have any problem”
The Shippers Council boss equally commended efforts of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the operation of its call up system. He said the truck parks at Lillypond, Ijora terminal is bringing sanity into the port.
“We are also helping by bringing sanity into the terminals, sometimes, it is what happens in the terminal that causes the traffic, so we try to achieve efficiency in the terminals so that there would not be congestion”
Also speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS, Deputy Chairman of the Freight Forwarders Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) Mr Las Ali Shobande noted that there has been some improvements in Apapa traffic which has reflected in the cost of transportation.
Ali attributed the positive trends to efforts of the presidential task team that has been deployed to monitor and get the road free.
He said “Few months back, we were talking of hundreds of thousands to move containers from the ports to various places around Lagos and beyond, but now that has dropped confidently by forty percent”
“The road repair is going on, we hope that as it improves, the cost of transportation would further drop. We are hoping that between now and end of the year, much work would have been done, the Apapa axis is okay, but we still have the Tin Can-Oworonshoki axis which is a longer stretch and may take longer”
Confirming the reduction in haulage fares, Chairman of Dry Cargo Section of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Alhaji Innua Mohammed said that transporting cargo from Apapa port to areas within Lagos metropolis hitherto cost N550,000, but it has reduced to N300,000.
He also said that transporting cargo from Lagos to Kano State hitherto cost over N1million, but that it has reduced significantly to N750,000.
Innua said “The cost of transporting cargo from the port to other destinations have dropped compared to the previous time when we have multiple check points, traffic bottle necks at the ports and it’s environ”
“Before now, transporting cargo from the port to lets say Matori or trade Fair costs N500,000-550,000 now it is between N300,000 to N350,000 and Kano that is over N1m is not more than 750,000 to N800,000 now”
Also speaking with our correspondent, Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi said that transport charge is dynamic and it is demand that determines the rates.
He said “Running cost also determines the rates, for example, if the amount you pay as gratification has reduced, automatically, the rate would definitely reduce, and if the demand for trucks is low definitely the rate would fall as well”
“Though am aware that NSC being the economic regulator of the ports has been preaching and working assiduously to ensure that cost of freight charge and doing other business in the ports in reduce to conform with other clime, because other neighbouring countries are competing with our nation”
Ogungbemi however advised that the NPA should expedite action on its truck call-up system and move away from manual to electronic.
He said that continuing to operate a manual call up system would still lead to human contact and extortion.