The Nigerian Ports Authority has finalised plans to implement the electronic call-up system to control the entry of trucks into ports in Apapa area of Lagos state. This is according to Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
During an interview with Channels TV, Usman disclosed that the e-call up system will be introduced in January 2021.
January is when we will unveil the e-call up. The Orile trailer park, which is the Ahmed Tinubu trailer park will be the hub where the larger trucks will come.Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the NPA
“You drive from there when you’re called upon, you come to the Tincan Island trailer park then you gain access into the ports,” she added.
The Apapa area of Lagos is a bustling metropolis – home to Nigeria’s largest and busiest port complex, the Lagos/Apapa Port Complex.
Despite being Nigeria’s smallest state in terms of land mass (1,175km²), Lagos is alarmingly the most populated state in the country, currently with over 20 million residents. This has led to the heavy congestion of the country’s commercial capital in terms of road traffic.
In Lagos, Apapa’s traffic situation has been compounded by the lack of an efficient structure to manage the parking arrangement for cargo trucks at the ports. Residents of the area and road users have in recent times complained about the traffic chaos.
Therefore, adopting technology through the electronic call-up system for these trucks would prove integral to solving the truck gridlock problem at park locations and environs.
Manual Call-up System Didn’t Work
Up until now, the NPA has operated a manual call-up system for freight trucks and cargo trailers. Introduced last year, the manual call-up system involves the allocation of parking lots to loaded trucks by security agencies in charge of traffic control.
Due to the heavy involvement of human agents, the manual system has been marred by cases of bribery, extortion and favouritism on the part of the Task Force mandated to oversee the call-up procedure.
Many truck operators decried the corrupt practices by port officials handling the manual call-up, which has failed to address the issue of congestion and vehicle traffic on roads linking to the ports.
e-Call Up: A Viable Solution?
The electronic call-up system to be unveiled by the NPA could work well to effectively decongest the ports and by extension, road traffic in ports access areas.
A big problem the e-call up would solve is the pre-allocation of trucks to designated parking spaces. Freight trucks have to be linked to the tech-enabled system, and drivers would have been alloted a parking section before being granted access into the port.
What this means is that trucks not connected to the e-call up system would be denied entry into the ports. This would reduce the number of trucks on ground per park, as well as open up more parking spaces to incoming trailers.
Added to this, the e-call up system would help shorten the waiting time for cargo trucks to be cleared. The issue of overtime cargoes has been a constant concern as it has encouraged cargo pilferage and excessive charges.
When trucks are quickly assigned parking lots, it reduces the turnaround time for shipments to be unloaded and cleared. Consequently, freight traffic would be minimised.
While corrupt practices like bribery will not just go away, but if the NPA’s e-call up system will be fully executed without human interruption, then there will be no possible avenue for truck operators to compromise the process.
However, the issue of sufficient parking locations will not be unaddressed by the e-call up system. Coupled with the introduction of the electronic parking management process, it is crucial that the NPA finds a way to increase the number of parking stations.
The greater the number of available parks, the larger the parking spaces accessible to cargo trucks. When more trucks are absorbed into parking lots, there will be a significant opening up of road spaces for freer vehicle movement in Apapa metropolis.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!