Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, has said that trucks not registered by February 27, 2021, on Eto, the electronic truck-call up app recently introduced by the Authority, would not have access to the ports.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos, Bala Usman also said that trucks found parking on any part of the ports access roads from that day will be impounded. She explained that all trucks are expected to be parked at designated truck parks from where they will be called into the ports when their cargoes are ready for pick.
As part of the operation of the app, the NPA boss said that the authority, working in conjunction with the Lagos State government, has currently licensed seven truck parks, where trucks can be stationed and invited into the ports when their cargoes are ready.
“I have always had the idea that removing human intervention in calling up trucks into the ports is key to solving the truck congestion problem. This process with be transparent and on a first-come, first-served basis. I am confident that this step, combined with improved rail access in the ports and the use of barges to move cargo will solve this problem,” Bala Usman explained.
Apart from calling up trucks, Bala Usman said that the Eto app will also be responsible for the return of empty containers to the ports by shipping companies. This, she said, means that cargo owners are not allowed to come to the ports to drop empty containers, which must be taken to the holding bays of shipping companies.
According to her: “With Eto, we have made sure that the registration of shipping companies is tied to having empty containers holding bays. This is where consignees will drop empty containers henceforth. It is the responsibility of shipping companies to arrange how to transport empty containers to the ports through the Eto.” We have had pushbacks from shipping companies in the past, but what we have now is to deny their 2021 registration unless they provide empty container holding bays and log on to Eto. We are happy that they have complied.”
Ms. Usman explained that the NPA is working with the Lagos State government and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to ensure full compliance with Eto operations and that trucks found around the ports without being called to the ports will be impounded and their owners made to face the law.