Why we shuned NSC haulage rate conference —AMATO, others

THE Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA) were conspicuously missing at a recent conference organised by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), where new haulage rates standardisation was presented to stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune exclusively on his association’s absence at the conference, Chairman of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi advised the NSC to first regulate the prices of tyres, fuel, oil and other truck parts before seeking to regulate haulage rates at the seaports.

According to Ogungbemi, “The NSC should first regulate the prices of tyres, oil, fuel and other truck parts before coming out with a standard haulage rate. Aside the monies spent on maintaining our trucks, many of us cannot account for so many unreceipted funds spent on the roads.

“Did the NSC consider all the money our members give security operatives who mount checkpoints on the highway. All these monies are unreceipted, and are paid by truckers when trying to deliver containers at various destinations nationwide.

“I think haulage rates should be allowed to be decided by the forces of demand and supply; just like commercial bus drivers decide how much they carry passengers from one destination to another. Nobody regulates prices for the commercial bus drivers, why regulate for truckers?”

Also explaining reasons for boycotting the event, the Head of Operations, COMTUA, Alhaji Abudllahi Inuwa, told our correspondent that the truckers are not fully aware of the new rates. In his words, “It is not the intention of truckers to hike haulage rates. The hike is a product of the forces of demand and supply.

“As far as I am concerned, we are not fully aware of this new haulage rates being introduced by the NSC. My secretariat from the national body of NARTO and COMTUA are not fully aware of the new haulage rates.”

The NSC, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transport, had proposed and adopted at the conference new haulage rates for trucks carrying cargoes from major seaports to various destinations across the country.