Apapa gridlock: Sanction shipping companies now, stakeholders urge FG
…alleged above N200,000 extortion by task force team
By Prince Okafor
Truckers, under the aegis of Containerized Truck Owners Association of Nigeria, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria among others have called on the Federal government to sanction shipping companies operating within Lagos Port that failed to comply with the concession agreement.
Speaking during a Port Truckers’ Meeting in Lagos, Managing Director of Rashfunk Nigeria Limited, Mr Ishola Salami said that majority of shipping companies operating in port did not have holding bay where empty containers can be returned to which was against the concession agreement.
Salami said that failure on the part of shipping companies to make provision for holding bay led to series of untold hardship, adding, “Our drivers and assistants have been living inside the trucks for up to a month when trying to access the ports to pick containers or return empties.
“The Presidential Task Force which supposes to ensure orderliness also takes advantage of the situation to extort truckers. Sometimes a trucker pays about N200,000 to unofficial hands between Tincan and Mile 2.
“We are faced with endless harassment and so much intimidation. This comes with damages to our vehicles and injuries to the drivers and their assistants. Theft of cargo being moved by our members trucks placing indemnity and burden to pay cargo owners on the truckers.”
Corroborating his views, Mr Stephen Omotayo regretted that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and Nigerian Shippers’ Council that were supposed to regulate the activities of shipping companies failed to perform their duties.
“As a group we are calling on government to disband Presidential Task Force team, as they have failed in discharge of their duties, they have now converted the opportunity given to them by President to ensure orderliness into money making venture. We also want government to ensure shipping companies provide functional holding bay for containers.”