Why containers fall on motorists in Lagos ― NPA MD

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, has revealed that deliberate unlatching of containers by truck drivers is the major reason why containers are falling on motorists along Lagos roads.

Disclosing this after the meeting of Heads of maritime agencies in Lagos recently, the NPA Managing Director explained that the act of unlatching containers after leaving the ports by truckers needs to be addressed to avoid unnecessary deaths on Lagos roads.

According to Hadiza Bala Usman, “The latching of containers on trucks are usually done inside the port under close supervision by the terminal operators and the NPA.

“However, we have observed that some truck drivers, upon leaving the port premises, unlatch their containers. This they do to avoid a situation where their trucks get overturned if they drive along a bend and the container falls off. The truckers deliberately unlatch these containers to avoid their trucks overturning if they get into problems or manoeuvre through a corner or a bend and the container falls off.

“Ordinarily, If the container is latched on a truck, and the truck gets into an emergency while manoeuvrings a bend if the container is falling off because it is latched to the truck, the weight of the fully laden container will pull the truck and eventually overturn it. So to avoid their trucks getting damaged, the truckers deliberately unlatch their containers outside the port premises, and we think this needs to be addressed.

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“So we are currently discussing with the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) to inspect trucks along Lagos roads in order to save lives. Truckers found to have unlatched their containers will henceforth be arrested and penalised.”

On inter-modal means of cargo evacuation, the NPA MD stated that, “The need for inter-modal means of cargo evacuation at our ports is paramount. Currently, we are running a single mode of cargo evacuation, which is the road, and it’s killing our roads. It’s important to reiterate the importance of inter-modal means of cargo evacuation. We must have rail, we must have the water and pipeline for liquid bulk evacuation. This is the only way we can have seamless cargo evacuation at our ports. No matter what the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on traffic control does, if we don’t realise the importance of intermodal means of cargo evacuation, Apapa gridlock will remain.

“That is why among the key discussions today was the need to have an expansive utilisation of our inland waterways. As I speak, we have certain consignees who have an average of a thousand containers daily, coming to us that they will like to move their cargoes by barges to Onitsha from Lagos. These people are willing and anxious to move these cargoes by water to Onitsha. If we can utilise our inland waterways on a daily basis for operations like this, then Apapa gridlock will become history.

“It is also important that the building of the standard gauge rail tracks which has been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic is quickly concluded to widen cargo evacuation options. Rail is an integral part of decongesting Apapa. We cannot continue to move about 1.3million teus of cargoes that come to Apapa by road. As you can see, this government is keen on actualising all these. The rail is being actively done, and the inland waterways are being given attention.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Why containers fall on motorists

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