…Terminal Seeks Stiff Penalty for Recalcitrant Truckers
By DAPO OLAWUNI
There are indications have emerged that the Nigeria Customs Service has successfully decongested the Ports and Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) of all overtime cargoes, even as the terminal has confirmed an increase in barge activities and delivery of cargoes by waterways more than road network.
General Manager of PTML Terminal, Mr. Tunde Keshinro said that cargo delivery through waterways in on the rise, while the use of trucks and road transportation has been hampered greatly as a result of traffic gridlock along port corridor.
Keshinro who spoke with DAILY TREND NEWS on the sidelines of delivery of Caverton Helicopters to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at the Tin Can Island Port last week noted that, the ports have experienced road access difficulties which further depreciated in the last seven months, particularly from June 2020 as a result of blockade of Apapa-Oshodi expressway axis of the port.
The PTML general manager however expressed optimisms, even as he commended the recent appointment of Lagos State Government to now manage and control traffic in Apapa.
According to him, it was pretty difficult for the former Presidential Task Team to contain the situation because they never had equipment to ensure enforcement and penalty.
Speaking on the effect of the traffic gridlock on cargo movement, Keshinro said “For us as a Tin Can Island based operator, this hampered delivery of cargoes.
If you look at the waterfront, the rate at which cargoes are being delivered through the waterfront has kept on increasing more than how much cargoes are being delivered on the land side”
“The is because the trucks cannot access the port, those that are able to access cannot exit.
This has further caused a dislocation in cargo discharge and cargo delivery”
Keshinro argued that the over 40 vessels reportedly trapped at sea and unable to access the port was not as a result of port congestion or overtime cargoes littering the port.
He told our correspondent that the Nigeria Customs Service has evacuated all overtime cargoes from the PTML terminal.
“In terms of numbers, what we have at the moment is very negligible, majority of our overtime cargoes have already been transferred to Ikorodu.
The high number of vessels stranded at sea is not because of overtime cargoes, it is because of blockade along the access to the port”
While reacting to the newly appointed Lagos State Government Committee to manage the Apapa traffic, he described it as a positive intervention that was better than the Presidential Task Team arrangement.
“It is expected that this new arrangement would give a better impact.
The former task team had a lot of security officials, but they never had the tools of enforcement, there was no detension centres for impounded trucks, there was no enforcement of towing, there was no enforcement of clamping”
“When there is an infringement on the common user access by any recalcitrant truck driver, there is nothing they can do, they are helpless. Truly, they are there to man and control traffic, but in terms of proper enforcement, they never had tools”
“As the Lagos State Government is coming in now, we know that LASTMA have their own yard, when they impound vehicles, they can easily move them away, the issue of penalty is also there, so, with all these, compliance would be easy”
“My advise for the Lagos State team is to ensure there is penalty, and they should make provisions for truck transit parks and garages.
There must be a formal structure of doing thing rather than the informal interventions” he said