Author: Adedapo Adesanya
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, has threatened to delist truck drivers involved in illegal container demolition along the port access road, stressing that the agency will decisively deal with perpetrators of this unhealthy practice.
This is the act of removing cargo from a sealed container. This is also commonly known as container dismantling, unloading or unloading. Typically, full container shipments (FCL) are delivered to the destination warehouse.
The NPA chief made this known over the weekend in Lagos during an unscheduled visit to the port on Tincan Island, where he inspected designated container unloading areas and access roads to the port to ensure that trucks were not roaming around the area.
In particular, he warned that truck drivers caught red-handed risk being removed from the electronic hailing system (ETO) platform operated by Truck Transit Park (TTP) Limited.
During the visit, Mr. Koko announced that the NPA has introduced a standard operating procedure (SOP) for barge operators, with the SOP to serve as a guideline for all operators.
Commenting further on concerns over devanning, Koko stressed that demolitions pose a risk if carried out outside designated yards as they provide a platform for trucks to circulate on port access roads, causing traffic disruption and ensuing chaos.
He said the NPA would intensify its vigilance and monitoring to nip the negative trend in the bud.
Referring to shortages at some demolition yards, the managing director acknowledged the impact of global economic shocks on cargo flows and reiterated that a weak business downturn was no excuse for non-compliance.
He revealed that proposals for well-equipped demolition depots, known as demolition disposal stations, are gaining increasing interest, signaling a move away from illegal roadside demolitions.
On the sustainability of the measures, he said the NPA had been working with other government agencies and the Lagos State Government to ensure that such unwholesome practices would no longer take place along the port access road.
The Managing Director also stated that such unannounced site visits will become more frequent, followed by regular stakeholder engagement to continuously improve the smooth operation of the ETO platform.
He also warned that demolition yards violating operational rules would face the risk of temporary closure for first-time offenders and the possibility of non-renewal of land leases for recalcitrant offenders.
He noted that these stringent measures are aimed at maintaining order and security in the port environment.