Sandra Ukele

The Coalition of Ports Dry Cargo Transport Operators (CPDCTO) has decried the inability of  the  Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to  mount pressure on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to fix the deplorable ports access roads for cargoes’ safety.

In a letter obtained by THISDAY,  Secretary of CPDCTO, Comrade Ifeanyi Ekwunife berated the National Publicity Secretary of the ANCLA  Mr. Kayode Farinto for role on the issue  involving  NPA and its policy on  the truckers.
Ekwunife, who was responding to ANLCA’s position on the face-off between NPA and trucker owners, said that it is rather unfortunate that ANLCA backs NPA against the truck owners in a battle the former can never win.

According to him, there have been cases where agents had asked drivers to aid them in diverting clients’ (importers) cargoes.

He alleged that truck owners have always supported ANLCA in all their struggles to remain relevant in the maritime industry, pointing out that it is disheartening for ANLCA to direct its members to patronise only trucks with NPA stickers.

Ekwunife opined that in the best interest of the maritime business, ANLCA should strive to partner the truck owners to promote a responsive and viable maritime industry, rather than ‘’cast aspersions, denigrate or throw mud at fellow stakeholders.’’

He said: “It is rather unfortunate that ANLCA, through its P.R.O., Mr. Kayode Farinto, could go to the press to vilify truck owners, who have always supported them (ANLCA) in all their struggles to remain relevant in the maritime industry. It is even more disheartening to know that ANLCA had decided to back NPA against the truck owners in a battle the former can never win. But be that as it may, the truck owners under the aegis of CPDCTO would tackle the issues as raised by Farinto.”

“It is obvious that Farinto is oblivious of the politics behind the certification and registration of trucks.  It is even curious that ANLCA decided to go to the press based on information at its disposal from NPA on the current impasse.  One wonders why the law of natural justice was jettisoned by ANLCA by not hearing from the other side of the divide. Surely, to ANLCA, there are no two sides to a coin.”

The secretary said CPDCTO also wants Farinto to know that it is ready to ask its members to submit their trucks for the registration exercise if NPA cancels the monetary attachment.

He explained that NPA can only levy fleet owners who are NPA contractors that have service to render at the ports.

“In accusing the truck owners of delay in returning empty containers, Farinto should realise that it is the fault of the truck owners who do not have the space, the technological capacity, or adequate logistics to receive the empties.  This is responsible for the long and unending queues which contribute 50 per cent of the traffic gridlock along the Oshodi- Apapa expressway. Or is Farinto not aware that there has been a subsisting NPA directive (since 2012) to shipping companies to provide holding bays outside of the ports for their empty containers for ease of port operations. “