NPA’s e-call system, modernized extortion aimed at harming cargo delivery – CREFFPON

Hadiza Bala Usman,

Charges government to free Lagos ports from overutilization  

The Congregation of Registered Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (CREFFPON) says that Nigeria’s overutilization and concentration of shipping activities in Lagos seaports are the cause of various operational hiccups – congestion, traffic gridlocks, high charges, and lack of competition – being faced by the port stakeholders, especially importers and freight forwarders.    

The CREFFPON described the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) e-truck call-up system as modernized extortion that would further cause setbacks to cargo delivery considering the huge amount of N10,000 charge which is slammed on a truck that is parked in the transit parks.

The CREFFPON maintained that Lagos ports are congested, choked and saturated with rapid dilapidating and decaying infrastructures.

To end this anomaly, the body in a study paper on the international trade activities with regards to ship and shipment designation and clearance through the ports in the country called on the federal government as a matter of urgency to decentralize shipping activities from Lagos seaports to seaports in Rivers, Cross River and Delta States respectively.

 The CREFFPON noted that the Ease of Doing Business Policy of the government has failed woefully to make the port system competitive in terms of charges and quick cargo delivery and advised that it should either be restructured or proscribed.

“As port competitiveness and cost of doing business in the ports have skyrocketed far above the comparable continental ports industry average with regards to the cargo handling and clearance costs. The Presidential Ease of Doing Business in the Nigeria ports is not the function of global rating but of the realities on the ground. Therefore, since this noble initiative has failed to achieve its objectives in the port system, it should be either restructured or proscribed.

“The unregulated and uncoordinated trucking systems is a notorious extortion, an organized enterprise and gang up against the imported goods into Nigeria, ” said CREFFPON.

 The CREFFPON noted that the traffic gridlock in Apapa was man-made and a designed extortive tool seemingly conceptualized over time by vested interest, asking how a government that has oversight functions over the concerned agencies never queried or sacked the management team of the concerned agencies over their gross failures to manage the traffic gridlock. “It cannot be said that a seasoned management team suddenly forgot that the Apapa port access road is prone to high import volume, increased vehicular, cargo movement activities and waterlog prone as well. Obviously administrative road capacity forecast and planning in the face of yearly increasing Cargo traffic failed.”

The body said the disbandment of the presidential task team on Apapa traffic gridlock and the reconstitution of a Ministerial Committee saddle with the same task is a ‘mere act of baptismal of name’ as the extortion continues.

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