By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Port Standing Task Team has said that it arrested 170 trucks in the past five months for offences ranging on blocking of common user access at the port, lack of documentation among others.
Disturbed by the continuous traffic gridlock on the port access roads, the Federal Government had in April 2022 inaugurated “Operation Free The Ports Corridor” to ensure easy movement in and out of the seaports.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mrs. Magdalene Ajani, who flagged off the initiative championed by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Lagos, had sought the support of all industry stakeholders to ensure the efforts yield positive results.
Speaking with journalists last weekend, National Cordinator of PSTT, Comrade Moses Fadipe noted that ninety percent of the trucks so far arrested were not road worthy.
According to him, the operation of the PSTT is carried out without fear or favor of any government agencies or apparatus. According to him, the Task Team has had course to arrest trucks belonging to the Military, and released them after they have gone through same punishment process as others.
Speaking, he said “170 trucks were arrested within a spate of five months and all went through this process. Meanwhile all the trucks operating in the logistics chain of Apapa is about 2,500 daily including the petroleum tankers.
“Ninety percent of the trucks arrested were not road worthy. However, that is not the primary offence for which they were apprehended. Their roadworthiness and other documents must be validated, or else they are not released by the PSTT. However, the team is not in charge of validation of the papers but the concerned agencies like the FRSC
“Most of the trucks were arrested for causing obstruction on the common user facilities at the port.
Even the military trucks arrested also go through the same process” he said
Comrade Fadipe stated that if the PSTT has more capacity, it would be able to extend its operations towards towards mile 2 and beyond. According to him, there is
need for human capacity, logistics and funding.
Presently, the Nigerian Shippers Council is the only agency funding operations of the PSTT.
While highlighting some of the punitive measures put in place to ensure success of Operation Free Port Corridor, Comrade Fadipe stated that “When your truck is apprehended for obstruction, the first approach is to direct the driver to move away. However, most of the trucks park on the access road without the drivers inside. When this is the case, the PSTT would tow the truck.
“The next thing is to take you to a truck park closer to where you are arrested, we use different truck parks which COMTUA is referring as third party facility. The truck park would never release you until the PSTT okay it.
“While you are at the park, the FRSC would engage you and check your documents, if not valid, they all have fine. After updating your documents, you would write a letter of undertaking that you would not do that again. This letter could be written by the company or the truck manager.
“Every truck apprehended by FRSC are issued remmital forms, you go to the bank and pay directly to the TSA Account. After this, you come back to write the letter of undertaking and attach everything. Without the park owners seeing a complete document and our authority,they won’t release the truck
“The park charge daily for the number of days truck staying there and PSTT has nothing to do with this.
Majority of the trucks we are arresting do not have papers, some of them have not updated their documents for the past fifteen years” he said