He said, “Before now, we have been having series of meetings to see how these things could be resolved; some of the things we will do is that we are going to return all empty containers that are on trucks now to the holding bays. Container-bearing trucks should no longer proceed directly to the port because that is not the best practice. From the holding bays, the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the terminal operators and shipping agencies should work together to generate call-ups from the holding bays.”
Eyo said that, henceforth container-bearing trucks would not just get to roads and begin to access the port, adding that the operatives on the road would be checking the call-ups to ensure that only trucks that were called would be on the road.
He said that, before now, the holding bays were not ready and time had to be provided for the terminal operators to develop their holding bays, hence, the decision that the trucks bearing empty containers must vacate the roads.
He said if the trucks fail to comply with the directives, they would be sanctioned, adding that, “I do not want to think that they will not comply because severe sanctions will be meted out on them.”
Eyo assured residents that respite was on the way for commuters who struggle day and night through the heavy gridlock caused by trucks on the road.
He noted that the task force has put machinery in place for evacuation of trucks that refuse to leave for the holding bays, and erring truck owners would have to pay huge fines before they get their trucks back.
At the meeting, the chairman of Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area, Ayoola Fatai, lamented the heavy traffic jam on roads in the local government, claiming that the situation has crippled business activities in the area.
He offered 26 hectares of land in the area for the Federal Government to build a container terminal but the offer was turned down by the Nigerian Ports Authority, which explained that it was not allowed to build such a facility near a port as it would create more problems for the port.
Ayoola also urged government to attend to the dilapidated roads in the area, as the bad roads also contributed to the gridlock.
Similarly, the chairman of Apapa Local Government Area, Hon. Adele Elijah Owolabi, urged government to work towards easing the traffic situation in the area as it was causing the Apapa community a lot of harm.
While seeking solutions to the gridlock, many of the truck owners blamed the terminal operators and the shipping companies for the problems, as they explained that terminal operators were unwilling to receive trucks when due, hence the gridlock.
They said that the terminal operators sometimes blamed the delay and their inability to work on system failure or network problems, thereby causing delays.
On his part, the chairman of the Amalgamation of Truck Owners’ Association, Mr. Olaleye Thompson, lamented that the truck owners were not being carried along, adding that they have asked to be included in the task force but they were rejected.