By DAPO OLAWUNI
Freight forwarders at the Nigerian port have accused the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and its technical partners; Truck Transit Park Limited (TTP) of deviating from the initial plans of the electronic call-up system known as Eto.
The freight forwarders also stated that, reasons why NPA was having challenges with implementing Eto was because it refused to bring-in the freight forwarders as critical stakeholders.
According to them, the NPA has now introduced a process that makes it compulsory for freight forwarders to submit truck numbers before their TDO (Terminal Delivery Order) could be issued.
DAILY TREND NEWS learnt that the biggest container terminal in Apapa; APM Terminals on 9th of November 2020 issued a message through its customer care team, announcing that NPA has directed henceforth that all trucks loading in terminals shall have their terminal delivery orders(TDO) aligned with the truck registration numbers.
“In this regard, the customer is encouraged to provide the truck registration number at the point of obtaining TDO.
“Only trucks with registration numbers aligned with TDO would be granted access to the terminal and the implementation will take effect soon.
“APMT as a responsive terminal will comply with the directive and look forward to a seamless process with you our customer” the message read
However, freight forwarders have raised an alarm that this new instruction, if approved, would be implemented with impunity because trucks would be tagged to the TDO, without knowledge of the freight forwarders.
A frontline freight forwarder and Chieftain of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Elder Ugochukwu Nnadi stated that tagging of truck numbers to TDO is a noble development, however, the truck must be at the discretion of the cargo owner.
He alleged that some terminal operators could use any of the trucks that suit them, even when the cargo owner is not aware.
“The agreement was that when the TDO is being generated, it would be tied to a truck, some terminals would tag TDO to trucks that agents don’t even know, without their consent. After they have tagged it, the agent starts looking for the truck”
“You must tag your TDO to a truck before it would be allowed into the port, this is the arrangement, but it must be on the knowledge of the cargo owners
“When you give a TDO, they match it to a particular truck, the truck could still be in Sagamu, before it gets here, you might have gotten another truck to carry the goods” he said
Nnadi stated that the ETO as it is today, is not well coordinated and implemented by the TTP Limited.
According to hum “With TTP, we are not supposed to have trucks littering the roads again, but their exercise is not properly coordinated.
“The freight forwarders were never incorporated from the beginning, yet they are the owners of the cargo.
TTP never consulted us for once, they said that they were telling NPA to invite us during meetings, and that NPA would tell them that they have sent out invites, but all the associations; ANLCA, NAGAFF, others were never invited.
“We are the owners of the cargoes, we are the ones that generate TDO and give to trucks to register, but but NPA never involved us” He said
Also raising complaints about the new introduction to the Eto, a licensed customs agent, Femi Olabanji said this could kill businesses at the port
“If we allow APMT to number TDO with trucks, the truck owners will kill our business.
For instance, if you number the TDO with a truck and the truck is faulty, your goods would not leave the port until you repair that truck, if there is an option of another truck, then you would not incure any demurrage
“But with this no option of another truck, the assigned truck must be repaired, and this would lead to incuring demurrages” he said