The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has issued a stern warning against illegal stripping of containers along the port access road.
The Ports Authority threatened that truckers caught in the act stand the risk of being delisted from the Electronic Call-up System (eto) platform managed by the Truck Transit Park (TTP) Limited.
Container stripping is the unloading or unpacking of cargo from the container.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the NPA, issued the above warning in Lagos at the weekend when he paid an unscheduled visit to Tin-Can Island Port to inspect designated container stripping yards and the port access roads to ensure trucks are not loitering.
Bello-Koko said illegal container stripping constitutes a menace and adds to traffic congestion along the port access when undertaken outside designated yards.
According to him, it also creates room for trucks to park indiscriminately along the port access roads which results in traffic disruptions and attendant chaos.
He said the NPA will intensify its vigilance and monitoring to nip the negative trend in the bud.
He said that such unannounced on-the-spot visits would become more frequent and would be followed by regular stakeholder engagements to continuously improve the seamless operations of the eto platform.
He also warned that stripping yards that violate the operational rules will face temporal shutdowns for first-time offenders and the possibility of non-renewal of land leases for recalcitrant offenders.
Bello-Koko said that these stringent measures are geared towards maintaining orderliness and safety within the port environment.
Addressing the scarcity in some of the stripping yards, he attributed the low volume to the impact of global economic upheavals on cargo flow and reiterated that a business downturn cannot be justification for illegality.
He however disclosed that proposals for well-equipped stripping yards, referred to as ‘devanning yards’ are receiving accelerated attention, signaling a shift from illegal roadside stripping.
On the sustainability of the measures put in place by the NPA to stop container stripping, he said, the NPA has collaborated with other government agencies and the Lagos State Government to ensure that such unhealthy practices no longer take place along the port access road.
Similarly, the NPA boss also announced that the NPA has rolled out a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for barge operators, adding the SOP will serve as a guideline to all operators.