The Association of Maritime Truck Owners has said the country needs to explore technology and automation to improve the infrastructure at the ports, a move which will ease port operations.
The President of the association, Aderemi Ogungbemi said this on Friday during a monitored discussion on TVC News titled, ‘Barge Operations: Assessing Illegal Terminal Operations In Lagos.’
Poor infrastructure in Nigeria’s ports, particularly the Apapa port has overtime led to congestions and frictions in both import and export activities in Africa’s largest economy.
About $55m is being lost daily by businesses to port congestions in Nigeria according to figures by a Dutch consulting firm Gynanmar.
Some operators had devised illegal terminal operations among other barge operations to facilitate their activities at the port.
Ogungbemi said, “Truck plays an important role in the economy especially in our ports. Goods are coming into the port as imports and going out of the country as exports are being conveyed by trucks.
“About ten years ago such things were not there and the cause of this is the roads can no longer accommodate the volume of the activities that we are giving to the roads.
“That is why people are now finding alternatives they are now devising the use of barges. You will see a truck be on the road struggling and converging to see how they can enter the port either for export or to return the empty container.”
The association’s President denied claims that the barge operations were illegal.
He said, “I want to disagree with you if you call them illegal it is an alternative. In the absence of the normal way, you look for an alternative.
He blamed barge operations on the inadequacies of the needed facilities to support Africa’s fourth busiest port.
He said with the growing population and pressures on the road, the infrastructure have not improved.
The AMATO boss said, “We are under a modern age of technology and technology should come in to start addressing those issues like the gridlock we are having.
“It is time for us to have a device that will be regulating the movement of these trucks so that all the trucks will not just be coming at the same time. But in the absence of the regulators, the device will be informing every truck when it is their time to come.”