The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has said that effective and proper use of services provided by the newly built truck transit parks would promote efficient port operations and significantly reduce the gridlock on port access roads.

As part of efforts to stem the worsening traffic congestion in Apapa, which houses the nation’s two biggest cargo seaports; the Lagos Ports Complex and Tin Can Island Ports Complex and environs, the management of the authority is concluding plans to officially commission two transit parks located at Lillypond and Tin Can Island Port second gate, which will also mark the takeoff of the truck call-up system.

Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, who spoke at an interactive session with stakeholders held in Apapa last week to sensitise them on the need for proper use of the terminals, said that the facilities would enhance effective port operations and improve service delivery in the nation’s supply chain.

She however informed the stakeholders that priority would be given to truckers with empty containers and export cargo.

The Managing Director, who was represented by the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr. Sokonte Davies warned that as a landlord and technical regulator of the ports, NPA would not fold its arms and allow a total breakdown of the system. “Instead, the authority would take the bull by the horns by proffering permanent solutions to the menace in view of the role the maritime industry plays in the life of the nation’s economy’’, she said.

It was gathered that some of the plans put in place ensure the optimum use of the facilities include mandating the incoming task force to ensure that trucks are not allowed to park on the bridges forthwith.

Under the new dispensation, shipping lines and terminal operators have also been directed to harmonise their operations to ensure the success of the new call up system while security agencies ensure that all manner of trucks milling round the port environment were removed even as traffic and other law enforcement operatives are to ensure that the Tin Can Island – Mile 2 Road corridor of the port is open for optimum traffic and port operations.

In addition, the various sectional heads from the NPA involved in the exercise resolved that enforcement would be total while calling for the support and understanding from all involved.

The MD also insists that while the new trailer parks would serve as transit points, they would also ensure that broken down trucks are towed away on a penalty. She urged everyone concerned to ensure that a platform would be made available for complaints to be lodged by stakeholders to facilitate seamless operations.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who was represented by Mrs. Anna James Akpan, an Assistant Director in the Shipping Development unit of the agency, while speaking at the event, eulogised the initiative of the NPA in putting an end to the traffic congestion menace. The ports, according to him, are crucial component of the maritime industry. ‘’The ease of access into the ports and the provision and maintenance of the facilities to create a free flow of activities cannot be overemphasised as it will enhance the flow and increase of revenue to both the authority and the Federal Government’’, Peterside said.

Participants at the event urged he NPA management to ensure that their members are made relevant in committees just as they further pledged their loyalty to the NPA in ensuring that the call up system is effectively implemented for the growth and development of the maritime sector and most especially increase its contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.      .

In attendance at the event were representatives drawn from the terminal operators, shipping lines, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria RTEAN, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners NARTO and other stakeholders.