Transport

Congestion: NPA to deploy electronic call-up system at Onne port

The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) has described its flagship Free Zone in Onne, Rivers State, as the toast of the global investing community and first port of call for those seeking opportunities for good return on investment.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), says the electronic truck call-up system, known as ETO, would be deployed to Onne Port to reduce gridlock.

Bello-Koko disclosed this while speaking on Arise Television on Friday.

He said ETO has helped to improve traffic flow at the Apapa Port.

Bello-Koko said the Onne port in Rivers state is becoming extremely busy, hence the need to deploy the call-up system.

According to him, after several suggestions raised by stakeholders, NPA is considering the expansion of the call-up system to other ports across the country.

“The electronic truck call-up system was deployed to automate the manual manifest system of trucks and we believe that it has improved traffic flow and reduced gridlock, especially around the Apapa area. But we have been tweaking and what we’ve been doing is holding meetings every week, two times a week,” he said.

“The essence is to look at what the problems are, where do we tweak it, and that, in tweaking, we make improvements in the call-up system which is aimed to essentially improve traffic flow. But we believe there is a need to also introduce competition and competition brings in efficiency.

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“Stakeholders have been pushing for unbundling of the truck call-up system. We are working on that and we’ll see how that goes. But we believe it is time to do that. We will also expand it to other ports. Onne Port is becoming extremely busy. We believe it is time to deploy the truck call-up system there also.”

Speaking on recent issues bordering infrastructure, Bello-Koko said for the agency to implement major projects, the use of technology was essential as it would go a long way to improve revenue, as well as, the efficiency of service.

He said the deployment of information technology (IT) is one of the most important things NPA needs for all projects to be efficient.

“What it does is it reduces human interference, it improves efficiency. It also plugs leakages and also naturally improves revenue. We have e-business solutions that are just geared towards improving revenue collections, but we’re about to start harbours automation.”

“The harbours automation here will bring automation from the time the vessel comes to our shores. From the fairway board to passing up the vessel to clearing of the vessel and so on.

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“The port community system would be a game-changer for us. It will definitely reduce wastages, reduce the waiting time of vessels, the dwell time, and then also it will bring efficiency. It’s something that has been deployed all over the world by many ports.

“We believe deploying the port community system will make our ports more efficient and much more competitive also. So we will do whatever it takes in our 2022 budget. We have made provisions for this. And then we made provisions for deployment of mobile IT tools.”

Bello-Koko, however, added he looks forward to having a concession agreement that gives NPA the power it does not have now.

“Powers to apply penalties properly, monitor and ensure that operators have the right equipment or to determine if operators have met those requirements,” he said.

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