The incremental deployment of the electronic call-up infrastructure for cargo trucks (Eto) launched in February 2021, has resolved the perennial Apapa gridlock.
The acting managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello Koko, made this disclosure as a guest on a breakfast programme, monitored recently in Lagos.
He explained that while the authority was not unmindful of the pains of Apapa residents, what remains is to address the gridlock caused by the failed portion along the Mile 2 – Tin-Can Port road, insisting that as soon as the entire stretch of the Tin-Can Port highway is completed, the perennial gridlock within Apapa would be completely eliminated.
Similarly, in a press statement issued by the general manager, corporate and strategic communications, Olaseni Alakija, the authority said it would fully deploy the ‘Eto’ call-up infrastructure for trucks along the Tin-Can port corridor.
Debunking insinuations that the ‘Eto’ system has been compromised, the NPA helmsman said: “The ‘Eto’ truck booking system was launched in February, and when I assumed office my first action was to carry out a comprehensive review of the system and we directed the system manager to immediately address deficiencies.”
“The infrastructure upgrade coupled with the support of Lagos State Government and other stakeholders, the vehicular gridlock along the Ijora – Apapa axis has reduced by over 80 per cent and I am sure residents of Apapa can attest to this,” he added.
He further said the authority has fully embraced multimodal transportation by encouraging better use of barges and port-rail, for the movement of laden and empty containers in and out of the ports, which have brought significant reduction in the cost of doing business at the ports.
According to him, as part of efforts to kick-off the electronic call up system, a fully automated transit truck park was established while 29 satellite parks were approved to ensure that trucks coming to do business in the port are properly profiled and verified before accessing the port.
Out of the 29 parks, about eight have met the required standards, which include installation of bollards, CCTVs, automated gate systems and relevant IT equipment.
He noted that apart from a few isolated cases, where some truck drivers try to subvert the system by not adhering strictly to the truck manifest arrangement with its attendant disruption, the e-call up has been able to streamline cargo evacuation and truck movements, thereby bringing a level of sanity to the roads.
He equally attributed the elimination of the Apapa gridlock to the new policy introduced by the authority, which compelled shipping lines to ship out no less than 80 per cent of the number of containers shipped in, for every voyage be it empty containers or export cargo.
The NPA boss declared that a total of 80,000 trucks have so far registered on the ‘Eto’ platform, adding however, that only 16,000 trucks have met the minimum safety standards, which is an indication that more work is needed to enthrone safety and prevent accidents within the port area.