The Nigerian Shippers Council has promised to assist the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) in securing a transit park for its trucks.
Executive Secretary of the Council, Barrister Hassan Bello gave the pledge yesterday when executives of the association paid a courtesy visit to the council’s headquarters in Apapa.
Bello said apart from the regulatory function of the NSC, it is also involved in the development of modern infrastructure including the development of a truck transit park for truckers under a public-private-partnership arrangement.
He said the role of truckers in the nation’s economy cannot be over emphasized, hence the need for a transit park where trucks can be called up from when they are needed.
“There is no gainsaying that the role of truckers is very crucial to the economy of the nation. The quality of their trucks is also important. In service delivery, what we want is to see that cargo is fast evacuated from the port and it is delivered because delay causes a lot of things. We have to develop the transport structure because there are serious deficit in there.
“We have the concept of truck transit part in some location in Nigeria. This is a modern facility where truck owners will have a rest stop so that truck drivers who drive long distance will have a place to rest,” he said.
Bello said apart from the fact that most of the trucks operating at the port are too old and rickety, the bad state of the port access road also contributes to reasons why containers fall off trucks noting that having quality trucks is dependent on the quality of access roads.
He described as an eyesore; a situation where the port access road is completely blocked by container trucks parked on all lanes as they wait to access the port.
“It is an eyesore to see trucks queue up for a very long time. It does not show seriousness. It is unsightly to say the least and if we say the port is the gateway to Nigerian economy, then anybody coming and seeing these trucks day in day out queuing up, does not show seriousness. We can’t have rickety trucks falling and delaying cargo causing traffic all over,” Bello said.
In his response, Chairman of AMATO Remi Ogunbemi expressed appreciation to the council’s effort in ensuring that truckers secure a transit park.
He said one of the major challenges facing the association is having a park where trucks can be called when needed adding that securing a transit park for truckers will go a long in addressing the perennial gridlock on the port access road.
“We are happy that the management of the council is coming on board to assist to make sure that we have a befitting place where the trucks will be coming from. It is when we have a transit park, a place where the trucks will be coming from, it is then that there can be sanity and orderliness on our roads,” Ogungbemi said.
He said it is not in the interest of truck owners to leave their trucks on the access roads. He said the original place earmarked for them to use as parking lot has been taken over by other business activities.