The acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, has acknowledged the failure of the agency’s electronic truck call-up system named “eto”, stating that “the system is yet to be effective at Tin Can port corridor due to the poor state of the access road”.
Bello-Koko stated this on Thursday when led some NPA officials on assessment visit to the Tin Can Island Port Complex.
NPA rolled out the so-called electronic call-up system on February 27 with promises by its erstwhile Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, that the new system was the much-needed elixir to the Apapa gridlock. NPA launched an app called eto, which truckers were expected to use to book turns to enter the port. NPA also designated some truck parks for port-bound trucks. The trucks were expected to wait at the truck parks until it was their turn to enter the port.
However, both the online booking system and truck park arrangement have since failed. SHIPS & PORTS reported on March 26 that the poorly packaged so-called electronic call-up system collapsed one month after it was launched, even as gridlock on the port access roads had returned.
The return of the gridlock, according to the report, also raised questions about the competence of the traffic management team set up by Lagos State Government to work with NPA to free the port access roads.
However, Bello-Koko said NPA would look into the problem of the failed call-up system with a view to addressing its shortcomings.
Bello-Koko, who also visited the Sunrise Bus Stop area of the Apapa-Mile 2 road, which had become a failed section, noted that the poor condition of the road remains a major challenge to the free flow of traffic and cargo evacuation from the port.
He also noted that some roads within the port complex are in a state of disrepair while the perimeter fencing at the port has also been pulled down thereby making the port porous.
“We are here because you recall that we met recently with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the essence of the visit was to strengthen our partnership with the State Government towards reducing the heavy vehicular congestion, especially in Apapa. We also talked about the poor state of the road along the Tin Can Island Port corridor.
“We have pleaded with Hi-tech, the contractor handling the Apapa-Mile 2 highway, to ensure that the Sunrise Bus Stop end of the road is worked on speedily, even if it is palliatives to make it passable, that is why we are here. You can see that the Tin Can end of the road is now clear. That is the result of the collaboration between NPA and the Lagos State Government because we are working together to ensure that trucks that are not meant to be here are not here.
“We want to consolidate on this and consistently ensure that trucks that do business at the ports, picking and dropping of containers, do so without encumbrances. We also came here to look at the port environment. We noticed that the wire gauze fencing had been pulled down by people and we have done the risk assessment. The best thing for us is to consider prefab fences, which we believe will do the work on a sustainable basis,” he said.
The NPA acting Managing Director said a situation whereby trucks spend several hours on the road before accessing the port due to bad roads is unacceptable.
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