Professor of Transport and Logistics, School of Transport and Logistics, Lagos State University (LASU), Odewumi Samuel, has identified policy summersault, high tariffs and charges on trucks, poor enforcement of laws and rules of government in cargo operations as well as pilfering/smuggling of cargoes as challenges crippling haulage movement in Nigeria.

He said other factors include, inadequate and ineffective security of cargoes, inadequate cargo handling capacity and equipment/technologies, poor service delivery and cargo processing, high costs of purchase of trucks, which has promoted the use of rickety trucks, absence of resting parks for haulage drivers and poor intermodal integration, especially railway transport.

Samuel made the submission while presenting a paper at the maiden edition of the 2021 Delegate Convention of the Council of Maritime Transport Union and Association (COMTUA) held in Lagos.

He spoke on “Resolving the Challenges of Cargoes and Haulage Movements in Nigeria for Effective Domestication of African Continental Free Trade Area and Promoting the Ease of Doing Business in the Continent.”

He said the challenges are putting a negative impact on the country’s ease of doing business, especially in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Samuel said, although great strides have been made within the corporate world in Nigeria, the country still suffers from massive corruption and a debilitating lack of infrastructure.

He said while the problems of road transportation persist in the country, there is a need for the establishment of the road authority, which will aid in the enforcement of urban and regional planning laws, road decongestion and proper maintenance culture of the roads to ease movement of cargoes.

He also called for more investments, public-private partnerships, tax for infrastructure, the establishment of standard repair plants, outsourcing of development of standard low-cost transit parks and increasing warehousing and storage capacity.

Samuel further called for expansion of the pre-gate space and equipment, creation of more holding bays in and outside Lagos, equipping the port’s operations better than it is and ensuring corruption-free licensing procedure and regular training.

He also emphasised the need to activate the National Transport Policy, strengthen political will to enforce the law, reduce the number of agencies or relocate them as well as break the monopoly of ETO system at the port.

He also harped on the multiplicity of unions, noting that this has created disunity and ineffective coordination among port transport workers due to selfish interests.

Samuel, however, charges the transport workers to be organised and be part of the solutions to the nation’s problems, rather than being part of the problems.

The President of COMTUA, Olaleye Thompson, while speaking on the disunity among the transport workers unions, said the association will continue to resist extortion of money from truckers along the port access road by unions.

He said the association has ordered the unions under it to dissociate from the act, noting that the issue of extortion along the ports access roads is a major reason why the Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) E-call-up system has not achieved the desired results.

However, Dangote, BUA, Flourmills and the entire corporate bodies of truckers have joined COMTUA to ensure smooth regulation of haulage and cargo movement in the country.

Highlights of the convention include the election of new executives of COMTUA. Members of the Board of Trustees include Olaleye Thompson as the Chairman, President of National Union of Road Transport Workers ( NURTW), Ibikunle Baruwa as the Co-Chairman and Chairman, Logistics Practitioners Association of Nigeria (LPAN), Godwin Ikeji Godwin Ikeji as the Secretary.

Others are the Executive Council: Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun as President, Mrs Folake George as Vice President Finance and Nnochum Victor as Secretary.