PSTT Sets to Dislodge 26 Illegal Checkpoints from Port Access Roads

…Flags Off “Operation Free The Port Corridor”

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) has flagged off the third phase of its operations tagged “Operation Free the Port Corridor” which is specifically designed to dislodge illegal checkpoints and hoodlums extorting truck drivers along port access roads and thereby making the access road free of traffic congestion.

L-R: Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Transportation, Dr Madgalene Ajani, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hon Emmanuel Jime and Representative of Nigerian Ports Authority MD, Mrs Eniola Williams at the flag-off of the Operation Free The Port Corridor in Lagos on Thursday

The PSTT has also revealed through painstaking investigation that, apart from the Tin Can Island Port area, there are 26 illegal checkpoints between the Apapa port corridor and Sifax bonded terminal, Ijora alone.

The Task Team is an offshoot of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) which was launched in 2021 by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to improve the ranking of Nigeria on the global corruption index.

While flagging off the project at the Nigerian Shippers Council headquarters in Apapa Lagos on Thursday, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mrs Magdale Ajani commended the PSTT for the fantastic job done in the past one year that it was inaugurated.

Mrs Ajani said the team under its Cordinator, Mr Moses Olayemi Fadipe has reduced the vessel turnaround time at the seaports from five hours to 90 minutes, while the time used in resolving importers complaints have also reduced from 10 days to four hours.

According to her, the reduction in berthing and complaint time has helped in boosting the ease of doing business, as well as efficiency in the seaport.
Dr Ajani, who flagged off the exercise, however, said in order to free the port corridor, it must be done holistically and with the support of other agencies.

“To free the port corridor, the key thing is that we have to do things holistically and that treatment is what we are trying to achieve.

“The aim of this holistic achievement is for us to achieve ease of doing business in Nigerian ports and the corridors.
“So, it takes all of us here to agree that we can do this and to be able to achieve this, we need to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), that we need to follow

“The SOP is not conscripting everybody to follow one person’s SOP, It puts into cognisance, the SOP of all operating agencies in the port and that is why we are talking about the NPPM.

” The NPPM will put everybody’s SOP into focus and we come together as a team to achieve results.”
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hon Emmanuel Jime applauded the support and level of buy-in obtained from the stakeholders, especially the public and private sectors.

” It just goes to demonstrate how all of us are eager to rid the Ports’ Corridors of the anomalies we witness daily.
“I am particularly excited because of the level of buy-in obtained from the stakeholders coming from both the public and private sectors.

” It just goes to demonstrate how all of us are eager to rid the Ports’ Corridors of the anomalies we witness daily.
“I congratulate you on having succeeded in forming this group as an enlarged task team for the purpose of removing illegal checkpoints and shanties along the Ports corridors ”

” Indeed, the Ports’ Corridors are not free; the traffic does not have a free flow, the shanties are not freeing spaces for a conducive business environment, and the unnecessary checkpoints obviously do not make for an atmosphere free of extortion and other forms of corrupt practices.”
“This exercise is going to be the third in the series of activities of the task team since its inception in March 2021.

“The team began its monitoring and enforcement mandate at the Joint Boarding of vessels operations where they ensured adherence to the provisions of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM).”
“Following the success of the first phase, the team moved to the Terminals in its second phase of activities to ensure a new culture of Joint Cargo Examination in compliance with the NPPM to foster global best practices.

“Today marks the implementation of the third phase as we embark on sanitizing the Ports’ Corridors,”

On his part, Mr Moses Olayemi Fadipe, National Cordinator of the PSTT reiterated that the team’s operations at the port started with a first phase of Joint boarding of vessels to improve the turnaround time of vessels.

The second phase jas to do with the various port terminals to ensure that terminal operators and other players in the cargo clearance chains play the game according to the rules to ensure timely release of cargoes.

The third leg of the campaign was the operation free port corridor that is meant to complement and consolidate the successes achieved in the two previous phases.

According to Fadipe, the Team on the Operation Free The Port Corridor is an enlarged one comprising 180 personnel drawn from various agencies and security organisations.

The event was attended by the representatives of Customs, Police, NPA, Lagos States, ICPC, SSS, truck owners, maritime labour, Apapa Local Government Chaiman, and other stakeholders in the maritime industry.

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