As part of efforts to decongest access to Apapa ports, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has given authorised trailer parks an August 12, 2021 deadline to meet all its requirements for full automation or lose their listing.
The Acting Managing Director, Mr. Mohammed Koko, told a reportedly said in Lagos at the weekend that the deadline was imposed at the end of a meeting with stakeholders late last week, explaining that those who fail to meet the requirements fully would be replaced by other interested companies that show capacity for full automation.
The full automation, he further explained, is necessary for the success of the electronic call-up system (ETO) the NPA had instituted last month in order to ease access to the ports in Apapa.
He said: “For ETO to work properly, there has to be multiple trailer parks. We advertised and people showed interest as being part of the parks that NPA will use on ETO.
“We gave them what was needed for them to qualify: uninterrupted power supply because of the CCTV and the automated systems, Internet access network, the CCTV, and automated gate systems.
“Some of them have started while some of them have not. Those that have not deployed, we have given them a few more days but I think that in not less than 10 days any park that does meet those requirements, we will delist it and give others a chance because if the parks are not effective and don’t meet what we want then the efficiency of ETO will also be affected.”
Koko praised the federal government and the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for completing the extension of railway to the Apapa ports, saying it would further help ease the gridlock in the ports’ city.
“I am thanking them for the recent completion of the rail system into Apapa,” he said, explaining: “We believe it is a game changer.”
He said the NPA had been working with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to see how cargo can be evacuated from the ports.
“The interest is to see how cargo can get all the way to the inland dry port. There are meetings taking place between the West African Container Capital in Onne and APMT, this is to assist those inland containers to ensure that it reduces double charges once the cargo comes in,” he said.
Koko said there is hope that movement of cargo by train from APMT to dry ports would soon begin, adding that the NPA has started working with NRC to give the right window so that once the train comes, the cargo is loaded into it without delay.
More discussions, he said, are going on to see that the railway system gets into Tin Can Port eventually.
He said the NRC has started test running for a few terminals.
“The fact that the railway is already in the port has made the problem half solved. But they need to do a survey to find out what buildings need to come down to create space for the train. The ports are very old, they were not planned for a train going round all the terminals,” Koko stated.