The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority ( NPA) Ms Hadiza Bala Usman has given March 1, deadline to the Federal Road Safety Commission ( FRSC) for the enforcement of Minimum Standard of Safety and Road Worthiness ( MSSRW) for all the trucks entering the nation's six major ports.
Speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with the FRSC in Lagos, yesterday, Ms Usman said the NPA has the responsibility to protect lives and properties of all stakeholders accessing her services by ensuring that all articulated vehicles and trucks which on daily basis freight containers and assorted bulk cargoes to different parts of the country from the ports meet the required minimum safety standards.
Ms Usman said NPA was collaborating with the FRSC as part of efforts to put lasting solutions to the Oshodi-Apapa expressway gridlock.
To ensure full compliance, NPA, she said, is collaborating with the FRSC and other safety enforcement agencies to achieving safety standard for trucks accessing the ports by adopting the Road Traffic Safety Standarisation Scheme ( RTSSS), which include regular inspection and certification of the NPA' fleet.
"Apapa for example, is home to Nigerian 's two foremost ports which are being managed by nine terminal operators. Between the two ports, more than 65 per cent of dry cargoes and about 90 per cent of the nation's liquid (petroleum products) are handled. This is because it hosts about 35 tank farms in addition to the numerous other businesses that are located in this port city.
"Going by the operational activities highlighted above, there is always heavy vehicular traffic around all port locations and most of these vehicles are not in good state.
" This debilitating vehicular traffic has assumed a frightening dimension in so many port areas. It has led to serious accidents that have claimed innocent lives and several man hours' lost in traffic jam. Miscreants in arm robbery and other social vices have been on increase because of the perennial traffic situation in those areas.
She said that past efforts put in place by the authority, some state governments and terminal operators to ameliorate the situation were to no avail because most of the vehicles plying the road are not road worthy and urged the FRSC to ensure that no rickety vehicle enters the port.
In his address, Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi said his agency was happy over the NPA ' s initiative and tasked owners of heavy duty trucks operating within and around the ports on the need to strictly adhere to the minimum safety standards in order to ensure safety of haulage operations, saying FRSC will enforce all the aspects of the MoU.
He said adequate and appropriate driver education and speed limiter are vital and would therefore, be enforced by his men.
He emphasized that as from March 1, the field commands of the agency would be fully mobilised for the enforcement of the law.
While commending the NPA for signing the MoU, he enjoyed fleet owners and truck owners associations to obey the new rules by the NPA.
General Manager, Public Affairs