By DAPO OLAWUNI
Following calls by some port operators for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to return the era of container stripping (offloading) operations along port corridors, freight forwarders have called on the agency to take over fully, container stripping at the port and generate revenue from it.
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS in Apapa on Thursday, a Chieftain of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr Stanley Ejiogu described container stripping as a service that is on high demand at the port, especially for vehicle importers.
He urged the NPA to get acres of land around the port where importers can strip containers and pay money to the NPA.
Recall that the NPA had suspended all container stripping (offloading) around port corridors, especially the Tin Can Island Port due to the menace of traffic gridlock the trucks were causing along the axis.
Speaking on the renewed call for stripping to continue, Mr. Ejiogu said “Truly, stripping operations was causing congestion and gridlock along the port access roads, but I want to suggest that the NPA themselves, within the port environment, should get two places, or some acres of land, particularly for stripping of containers ”
Giving reasons to buttress his call, he said “When you finish the processing of your containers and you come out of the port, maybe the container is not going very far, especially containers carrying vehicles, these has to be stripped within the port environment while the cars can be driven to their destination. This will help you return the empty container on time and take back your container deposit”
“But, saying that no container should be stripped within port environment is a lot of puzzle, people are confused, even the access roads now, you would see containers lining up along the road, most of them want to do stripping, there is a place they are doing it before Conoil filling station”
“If you go to that place now as I am speaking to you, you would see containers blocking the roads”
“Npa has a role to play, let them get acres of land for this stripping, they would even get revenue from there” he advised
Mr. Stanley Ejiogu urged the NPA to pay attention to the Sunrise Bus Stop axis of Apapa-Oshodi expressway in order to ameliorate sufferings of port users, saying that the axis has become even a challenge to the electronic call-up system by NPA.
“The NPA are part of the problems we are having, that old system that involves exchange of money before you are allowed to go into the port is still playing out, some of the officials are still compromising” he lamented