24 September 2015, Lagos – The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, Princess Vicky Haastrup, has appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to defer the implementation of the law restricting the movement of trucks to night time within the metropolis.
In a statement made available to our correspondent, Haastrup stated, “A three-year moratorium on truck operations would create the platform needed for the government and stakeholders to work together on creating alternative truck routes and developing alternative modes of evacuating cargo, especially rails, from the ports.”
She called on the Lagos State Government to reconsider the implementation of the restriction order on articulated trucks, describing it as an obstruction to port operations and the larger economy.
Haastrup recalled that the restriction of truck movement was contained in the Lagos Traffic Law signed by the former governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on August 2, 2012.
She said, “While we appreciate the efforts 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 may not be willing to move at night. This means cargos will not leave the ports; and if cargos don’t leave the port, the ports will be congested and the economy will be affected.”
She recalled that terminal operators and relevant government agencies had worked hard over the past nine years to eliminate port congestion and warned that the restriction order was capable of reversing the gains made so far.
Haastrup said, “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 on cargoes coming to our ports, which had been eliminated since 2006 after the port concession,.
“All these costs will be passed to the consumer, leading to higher costs of goods in the market and higher inflation.”
The STOAN chairman also asked the truck operators and drivers to stop indulging in a blame game and take responsibility for the safety of their trucks on the roads.
She added, “STOAN is also seriously concerned about the needless loss of lives that result from truck accidents. We, therefore, urge the Federal Road Safety Corps 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 also charged the federal and Lagos State governments to repair the roads and provide parks for the trucks.
Section 2 of the Lagos Traffic Law restricts the movement of trailers and articulated vehicles to night time, with only petrol tankers and long vehicles used in conveying passengers allowed to travel around the metropolis during the day. Vehicles with more than one rear axle or six tyres are allowed to move only between 9pm and 6am.
Section 2(1) of the law states, “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 and 9.00pm.”
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, or a term of imprisonment for six months, or both.”
The exemptions to the restriction covers tour or passenger buses, fire service trucks, rescue and recovery trucks, patrol trucks, perishable farm produce trucks, refuse collection trucks, cement mixer trucks, tractors and refrigerated trucks.