Creation of more holding bays for empty containers has been identified as one of the solutions to the perennial traffic gridlock at the ports.
Assistant General Manager, Commercial and Regulatory Services, Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Western Ports Barrister Ephraim Effiota stated this last Friday at the inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the truck drivers unit of the dock workers branch, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
Effiota stated that as pertinent as it is to create more holding bays to curb this menace, there would be an improvement if truck drivers develop the knack of making use of the existing ones.
“There are holding bays quite alright even though there are rooms for improvement but then issue of compliance comes in. The drivers must be ready to make use of the holding bays. They must take their empties to the holding bays and not moving them to the ports because they want to seize the opportunity to move boxes out of the port” Effiota said.
According to him, when the Tin Can Island Port was commissioned in 1977, necessary infrastructures were not put in place in anticipation of the increase volume of imports the port now handles, thus contributing to the problem of traffic congestion at the port.
Effiota also use the opportunity to advise the truck drivers to be well mannered and neatly dressed to gain respect from members of the public.
He said that without the service of the truck drivers, the logistics chain in the maritime industry will not be complete.
“The essence of the port is to ensure that the export cargo gets to the port and move through the port to the door step of the buyer overseas. If the cargo arrives the port and after all the clearing process, nobody is there to move it to the door step of the buyer, that chain could never be completed expect the truck drivers are there to render the service and that service is as important as the one rendered by any service provider in the entire chain”, he said.
In his remarks, President dock workers branch of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said that with the support received from the management of NPA, dock workers have been transformed even as he appealed that the truckers unit should also benefit from the transformation program.
“Formerly, we were not recognized, they use to call us Agbero but today that is no longer our name because of the transformation we have received from NPA. This is the benefit of it today where workers organized awards for their leaders”, he said.
The inaugural AGM was put in place to educate the truckers, relate and reward individuals who have contributed to the development of truck unions.
Highlights of the event included presentation of awards to distinguished staff of NPA namely former Port Security officer, Apapa Port, Mr. Anataku Subairu, former Port Security officer, Tin can Island Ports Mr. Uche Ignatius and the former Port Manager, Tin Can Island Port, Barrister Effiota.