The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has called on the federal government to  provide digital coordination of traffic on port access roads, the association urged the  government to abort plans to introduce a new task force on Apapa roads.

Th association made this known after Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, approved the constitution of a Special Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team to resolve the traffic gridlock in and around Apapa.

However, the group, in a statement signed by its President, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said: “Why does government always see the deployment of security operatives as the best solution to Apapa and Tincan traffic gridlock, even when the same strategy has failed to resolve the problem in the past?

“When the Presidential Task Team (PTT) was inaugurated to resolve traffic gridlock in Apapa/Tincan road axis, it eventually led to the institutionalization of bribery and extortion of truckers by different road cabals in collaboration with the security operatives who became a problem instead of providing a solution to the problem of traffic they were sent to resolve in Apapa and Tincan port access roads.

“Eventually, the PTT was dissolved and disbanded by the government following an avalanche of complaints of gross abuse of its mandate for selfish ends in the maritime trucking industry.

“We are in the computer age, what we need and which we believe is the only solution is to embrace technology in form of the automation system to remove human interferences in admitting of trucks into the Apapa and Tincan Ports including all the factories around Apapa and Tincan Ports and Petroleum tank farms.

“As part of the effort to find a lasting solution to traffic congestion in port access roads, the Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has appointed a company called Truck Transit Park Limited (TTP) to manage Lilypond Transit Park and to introduce an automation system of admitting trucks seamlessly into the ports and also to eliminate traffic congestion which is scheduled to take effect on 27th of February 2021.

Odugbemi said the TTP “eto” system or TSS technological automation truck call-up system can seamlessly admit trucks into the ports, petroleum tank farm depots and factories without trucks clogging the roads and bridges.

Under this arrangement, he said: “All trucks would be made to leave the roads/bridges and go back to their private garages while the terminals /NPA decide/approve which container or cargo is ready for loading and which truck is, in turn, to leave its park to go and load at ports, factories and depots through the automation system.

“Tags are also allocated to trucks that are approved by the automation system to make sure that only trucks with approved tags are allowed to move on the ports access roads without clogging the bridges and port access roads contrast to the manual system of passing trucks where roadsides are converted to truck parks and where hundreds of trucks clog the bridges and port access roads in the struggle to enter ports, factories and tank farms.

“Therefore, we are using this forum to say capital no to the introduction of battalion Police or any Task Force to be on the road for manual control of traffic into the ports.

“We call on the federal government to jettison the analogue method and embrace the digital method of passing trucks into the ports. Human interference forms part of the root cause of traffic gridlock in the Apapa/Tincan road axis. “ eto” and TSS are here to replace all human encumbrances that are militating against the free flow of traffic in Apapa and Tincan road axis. The federal government should allow these systems to work in the interest of peace and traffic sanity.“

Sanwo-Olu had recently approved the constitution of a Special Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team to resolve the traffic gridlock in and around Apapa.

Sanwo-Olu said in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, on Sunday that the team would ensure zero-tolerance for traffic offences.