Posted June 18, 2019
No fewer than 54 private parks have been identified by the Federal Government which can be used for truck holding bays in Lagos in order to end Apapa gridlock.
Already, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has converted its terminal, Lilypond Container Terminal to a holding bay for trucks.
The authority has also introduced a manual call-up system to reduce the problem on the port roads, while some terminal operators at the nation’s seaports have started using their own call-up system.
It was further learnt that NPA would commence the implementation of electronic call-up system in August 2019.
Worried by the challenges on the port road, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, who explained in Lagos that the newly identified truck parks would eliminate gridlock, said that 60 per cent of the gridlock was due to lack of traffic management and indiscipline.
The executive secretary lamented that the infrastructural issue which had affected the free flow of traffic was being addressed by the Federal Government.
He explained that once the truck parks were made available, the Apapa gridlock would be a thing of the past.
Bello said: “So we are appealing to the truckers to follow the procedures, the call-up system, manual at first, will be decided in about a week whereby trucks are called only when they are needed so that not everybody will rush to Apapa.”
The NSC boss said that as part of effort towards addressing the Apapa gridlock, shipping companies calling at the ports in Lagos had agreed to increase their demurrage free periods from five to 10 days.
However, Bello said that the government was expecting the shipping companies to have 12 days demurrage free period for 90 days.
Before the latest decision to extend demurrage free period, importers have been paying N2,850 daily for 20 feet container and N5,100 for 40 feet container.
They were also paying N6,100 after three days on 20 feet reefer cargo and N12,200 within two days on reefer containers.
In addition to the storage fee charged on reefer containers, importers are charged for reefer monitoring from the day of container gate-in.
But a clearing agent, Mr. Samuel Elem, told New Telegraph that charges were too much.
He added that this was one of the reasons why the country’s seaports were not friendly to importers.
Elem said government should impose penalties on delays deliberately caused by terminal operators and shipping lines.
“This would reduce waiting times for ships at port and make a radical difference,” he said.
Apart from the surcharges, he explained that a minimum of N200,000 is charged by truckers within Lagos metropolis because of the persistent gridlock on the road.