Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr Mohammed Bello Koko has issued a stern warning against illegal stripping of containers along the port access road, stressing that the Authority will deal decisively with perpetrators of the unwholesome practice.
The NPA boss stated this in Lagos when he paid an unscheduled visit to Tin-Can Island Port where he inspected designated container stripping yards and the port access roads to ensure trucks are not loitering.
Mr. Bello-Koko, warned 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.
In the course of visit, Koko announced that the NPA has rolled out Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for barge operators adding that the SOP will serve as a guideline to all operators.
Speaking further on concerns surrounding container stripping also known as ‘devanning’, Bello Koko emphasised that stripping constitutes a menace when undertaken outside designated yards, as it provides a platform for trucks loitering around 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.
Addressing the scarcity in some of the stripping yards, the Managing Director acknowledged the impact of global economic upheavals on cargo flow and reiterated that low business downturn cannot constitute a justification for illegality.
He revealed that proposals for well-equipped stripping yards, referred to as devanning yards are receiving accelerated attention, signaling a shift from illegal roadside stripping.
Regarding sustainability of the measures, he informed that 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.
The Managing Director also stated that such unannounced 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.
He noted that these stringent measures are geared towards maintaining orderliness and safety within the port environment