Importers, clearing agents and truck owners have expressed optimism as the electronic call-up system (ETO) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) begins today.
This was even as they call for a functional holding bay by shipping companies for return of empty containers before the commencement of the ETO.
Recall that NPA had announced the launch of Eto, an Electronic Truck call-up system designed for the management of truck movement and access to and from the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa, Lagos.
The authority said all trucks doing business at the ports would be required to park at the approved truck parks until they are called up into the port through the Eto app. The Eto app will be responsible for the scheduling, entry & exit of all trucks into the ports with effect from 27th Feb. 2021.
The NPA also stated that about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalized call-up system, revealing that effective from 27th of February, 2021, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code to access the ports.
However, maritime stakeholders have expressed optimism toward the commencement of the system saying the electronic call-up system will end corruption on the port access road.
While the Vice Chairman, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Dry Cargo section, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa, said the call-up system will end artificial bottleneck necks on the port access road, the National Vice president Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Kayode said unless the port access roads are fixed it may not yet be uhuru.
Abdulahi said, “if started in good faith, we assure that we (stakeholders) should cooperate and allow it work then we will get good result. Actually, if it takes off successfully, it will eradicate corruption, no human contact and other artificial bottlenecks so, NARTO wishes the authority a successful takeoff.
Speaking further, “The motive is to take trucks off the road but, NPA should involve other garages where trucks are parked so as to successfully decongest the road,” he advised
Also speaking, the National Vice president, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto urged the NPA management to be steadfast in enforcing the call-up system.
According to him, the ongoing construction of the Oshodi-Apapa expressway must also be completed in good time because of no call-up system without a good road.
His word, “The road should be put in adequate place because there is nothing the call-up can achieve without a proper port access road.”
Farinto, a former chairman, Tin-Can Island Command, ANLCA said shipping companies must be compelled to have a functional holding bay for the return of empty containers.
His words, “Also, shipping companies should put up a holding bay for empty containers because without an efficient holding bay, is there a way the policy can be achieved?” he asked.
He continued, “NPA should also decisively take over the system and prevent the security agencies from hijacking it. They must totally remove human contact but how to achieve that I still don’t know because Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) will still be generated manually.
“Also, there is nothing on ground to show that it will be electronic and like I said, human contact must be completely eliminated because what is happening on port access road is an eyesore that is giving stakeholders sleepless nights,” he concluded.