Truckers kick against another traffic enforcement taskforce in Apapa
…Prefers electronic call-up system for truck operations
The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has kicked against the constitution of another taskforce for the enforcement of traffic regulations in the port city of Apapa.
Chairman of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said in a chat on Sunday that past experiences with traffic management taskforces showed that a digitalized truck call-up system would offer the best solution to the traffic gridlock in Apapa.
Ogungbemi said: “As we are in computer age, what we need and which we believe is the only solution, is to embrace technology in form of an automation system with a view to removing human interferences in admitting trucks into the Apapa and Tincan Ports, including all the factories around Apapa and Tincan Ports and Petroleum tank farms.
“Therefore, introducing another Taskforce as solution is of no use and unacceptable. Except if it is deliberate to allow some few individual to continue to enrich themselves at the detriment of the majority others or to further compound the problem of truckers.”
The AMATO chairman alledged that the deployment of the Presidential Task Team (PTT) earlier, did not provide the needed solution to the traffic problem in Apapa, rather it brought about corrupt practices.
He said: “Why does government always see the deployment of security operatives as the best solution to Apapa and Tincan traffic gridlock, even when the same strategy has failed to resolve the problem in the past?
“When the Presidential Task Team (PTT) was inaugurated to resolve traffic gridlock in Apapa/Tincan road axis, it eventually led to the institutionalization of bribery and extortion of truckers by different road cabals in collaboration with the security operatives who became a problem instead of providing solution to the problem of traffic they were sent to resolve in Apapa and Tincan port access roads.
“Eventually, the PTT was dissolved and disbanded by government following an avalanche of complaints of gross abuse of its mandate for selfish ends in the maritime trucking industry.”
Ogungbemi said that the truckers would work with theTruck Transit Park Limited (TTP) appointed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to manage Lilypond Transit Park and to introduce an automation system of admitting trucks seamlessly into the ports.
He expressed confidence that the system, which is scheduled to take off by Feb. 27, 2021, would address the traffic congestion problem in Apapa.
He added that “As an association, we also came up with a Truck Scheduler System (TSS) for seamless admission of trucks into the ports without hassles. But unfortunately, the federal government is planning the formation of another task team to control traffic in Apapa and Tincan road axis.
“The TTP “ETO” system or TSS technological automation truck call-up system can seamlessly admit trucks into the ports, petroleum tank farm depots and factories without trucks clogging the roads and bridges.
“Under this arrangement, all trucks would be made to leave the roads / bridges and go back to their private garages, while the Terminals /NPA decide / approve which container or cargo is ready for loading and which truck is in turn to leave its park in order to go and load at ports, factories and depots through the automation system.”
The AMATO chairman said that the system would work with the issuance of a TAG allocated to trucks that are approved by the automation system to make sure that only trucks with approved tags are allowed to move on the ports access roads without clogging the bridges and port access roads.
That way, he said, would be unlike the manual system of passing trucks where road sides are converted to truck parks and where hundreds of trucks clog the bridges and port access roads in the struggle to enter ports, factories and tank farms.
He added that “Therefore, we are using this forum to say capital NO to the introduction of battalion Police or any Task Force to be on the road for manual control of traffic into the ports.”
Ogungbemi blamed the persistent gridlock on “rise in human traffic into the port area, increased business activities of importation and exportation without corresponding increase and expansion of road network infrastructure.”