The Vice President National Association Of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Abdullahi Inuwa has given reasons as to why truck owners failed to abide with the 30 percent haulage cut agreement they had with the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC)
Recall that the truck owners agreed to a 30 percent decrease in their charges after the management of NSC appealed to the truckers to do so as part of efforts to support port operations under the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However one month after the decision was reached, many truck owners have refused to ameliorate its charges even as some truck owners now charge much more than the initial cost.
In a telephone chat with our correspondent, Abdullahi Inuwa, Head of Operations, Council of Maritime Transport Union’s and Association (COMTUA), stated that truck owners failed to adhere to the agreement due to the partial treatment given to barge operators.
He accused the NSC of failing to engage barge operators to also reduce their fares on consignment movement through the waterways, adding that shipping companies and terminal operators have also failed to adhere by their own initial agreement on waiver of storage and demurrage charges on consignment.
According to him “When we have the 30 percent cut, after the meeting with NSC, we were surprised that it was that time the federal government increased its tariff, while the shipping companies and terminal operators are reneging on what they have earlier promised NPA and NSC
“The other issue is that we were asked to cut our flat rate, knowing that now there is competition we have barges, but they did not call the barge operators to discuss about how they will cut their own rate,
“The Shippers Council should have also engaged the barge operators for them to also reduce their charges but limiting it to truck owners alone sends a negative signal to the haulage sub sector of the maritime community.
Inuwa also lamented that due to the bad state of the roads leading in and out of Apapa port it would be difficult for truckers to reduce cost “If you look at the road construction Tin can road is narrow and containers are now falling, we cannot be running at a loss just to make others happy” he said.
Inuwa also lamented about the poor process and procedures of export documentation at the nation’s ports saying about 300 export containers stranded at the Lagos port are yet to be admitted into the terminal.
“Also shipping companies and terminal operators are the major problem we have in ensuring smooth trade.
“We have a lot of export stranded along port corridors that are yet to be admitted into the terminals.
“Along Tin Can Island corridor, I can tell you that there are about 300 stranded containers and flat bodies alone.
“At times the terminal operators select the number containers that would gain access into their facilities and in most cases some of the trucks are nowhere close to the ports.
He further informed that before the pandemic, export cargoes gained entry into the terminals without much stress despite the ongoing road construction but maintained that since the lockdown has been relaxed, the situation has worsened.
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