Truck movement restriction will hamper port operation, fuel inflation, says Haastrup

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup has called on the Lagos State Government to reconsider its implementation of the restriction order on articulated trucks within the metropolis to night time because of its negative impact on port operation and the larger economy. Haastrup recalled that the truck movement restriction is contained in the Lagos Traffic Law signed by the former Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola on Thursday 2nd August 2012. “While we appreciate the effort of the state government in ensuring safety of lives and property within the metropolis, we must not fail to underscore the implication of the restriction order. “Mostly due to security concerns, the truck drivers might not be willing to move at night. This means cargo will not leave the ports and if cargoes don’t leave the port, the ports will be congested and the economy will be affected. “Terminal operators and relevant government agencies have worked very hard over the past nine years to eliminate port congestion, but the restriction order is capable of reversing the gains made so far. “The implication of port congestion is that shipping insurance costs will rise steeply, freights will be jerked up and shipping lines will slam congestion surcharges – which had been eliminated since 2006 after port concession – on cargoes coming to our ports. “All these costs will be passed to the consumer leading to higher costs of goods in the market and higher inflation,” Haastrup said. She appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to give a three-year moratorium to the truck operators before implementing the law. “The deferment of the implementation of the law for the next three years will create the platform needed for government and stakeholders to work together on creating alternative truck routes and developing alternative modes of evacuating cargo – especially roads and rail – from the port,” she said. The STOAN Chairman asked truck operators and drivers to stop indulging in blame game and take responsibility for the safety of their trucks on the roads. “STOAN is also seriously concerned about the needless lost of lives that results from truck accidents. We therefore urge the Federal Road Safety Commission and other statutory government agencies to monitor and impound rickety trucks and take them off the roads. “The leaders of the truckers’ associations need to train their members on safe driving habits rather than trying to look for who next to blame for their involvement in accidents on the roads,” Haastrup said. She also charged the Federal and Lagos State Governments to repair roads and provide parks for the trucks. Haastrup recalls that Section 2 of the law ‎restricts movement of trailers and articulated vehicles to night time, with only petrol tankers and long vehicles used in conveying passengers, allowed to travel within the metropolis during the day. Vehicles with more than one rear axle or six tyres are allowed to move only between 6am and 9pm. “Save as may be prescribed by the Commissioner by Regulation, no trailer other than petrol tankers and long vehicles used in conveying passengers, shall enter into or travel within the metropolis of Lagos between the hours of 6.00am – 9.00pm,” Section 2(1) of the law states while Section 2(2) stipulates that “any driver who is found contravening the provisions of this Section shall have his vehicle impounded by a duly authorised officer of the Authority and shall upon conviction be liable to a fine of N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira) or a term of imprisonment for 6 months or both.” The exemptions to the restriction covers tour or passenger buses, fire service trucks, rescue and recovery trucks, patrol trucks, perishable farm products trucks, refuse collection trucks, cement mixer trucks, tractors and refrigerated trucks. The general impression is that the movement restriction targets trucks involved in evacuating cargoes from the port.