Holding bays: NPA’s axe dangles over shipping firms, terminal operators
MD NPA, Hadiz Bala Usman
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has warned that it would apply severe sanctions and penalties on all shipping companies and terminal operators that fail to comply with stakeholders’ agreement on the provision and use of holding bays.
Recall that an agreement was reached in November, 2017 between the shipping companies, terminal operators and the NPA, which compelled all shipping companies and terminal operators in the country to provide holding bays for their trucks and containers through the newly adopted call-up system.
This agreement was also in tandem with the resolutions adopted at the end of two meetings between the Managing Director NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman and the leadership of truck drivers and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN in response to recent protests by trucks drivers at the Lagos Port Complex LPC and Tin Can Island Port TCIP, in Lagos recently.
The NPA-boss had at the meeting held Wednesday, this week, informed the stakeholders that the authority has launched an investigation into the level of compliance or non-compliance to the agreements reached between it, shipping companies and terminal operators and warned that any company found to have contravened this agreement will be sanctioned appropriately.
On the newly adopted call-up system for trucks accessing the port, she explained that the authority had consulted widely with all stakeholders before the introduction of the system, adding that the system has proved to be the most effective way of managing traffic in the Apapa axis till date at least for now.
The Managing Director while reacting to complaints and allegations of extortion by some security agencies in relation to the call-up system, assured that the authority will investigate the allegations and ensure that culprits are sanctioned appropriately in line with the provisions of extant laws of the land.
The meeting between the unions and management of the authority was in furtherance to getting amicable solution to issues arising from the operation of the call-up system as part of the Authority’s Traffic Management Strategy, alleged extortion by security agencies and the utilisation of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators as defined by the agreement reached November, last year.
Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners AMATO Chief Remi Ogungbemi and the President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, Comrade Adeyanju Waheed have both expressed their support for the call-up system, insisting that the system has sanitised traffic congestion characterised Apapa and environs.