As the maritime sector continue to evolve, an expert and operator in the industry has outlined some factors to be considered in moving the sector forward.
Speaking at a round table meeting with journalists under the aegis of Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Lagos recently, Secretary of the Joint Council of Seaport Truckers (JCOST) Chief Godwin Ikeji, called for standardisation in the sector. JCOST is an umbrella body of road transport operators in the ports.
According to Ikeji, “the maritime operations has been so bastardised, no regulation of the business, and no statistics to assist prospective investors coming in”.
He also decried the lack of well-trained truck drivers in the country, stating that most truck drivers only learn on the job and as a result lack comprehensive training on the workings of trucks. He called for the establishment of truck drivers schools.
JCOST also identified the imposition of truck stickers on each truck by the Nigerian Ports authority (NPA) as well as the high fines imposed by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) as bottle necks in the smooth running of port operations.
Provision of garages for trucks, availability of spare parts, sanitisation of fares as well as provision of standard trucks were some of the other factors identified to improve haulage services from the ports.
On his part, Chairman of JCOST, Alhaji Kayode Odunowo alleged that security agencies such as Nigeria Navy, Army, Police, etc extort transporters operating within the seaports
Speaking on some of the challenges faced by transporters operating within the ports corridors, the Chairman noted that it takes five days for a truck to access the seaport in Lagos, pointing out that the roads linking the ports are in deplorable condition.