Truck drivers attribute demurrage, extortion to gridlock on the Oshodi – Apapa Exp Way

Truck drivers attribute demurrage, extortion to gridlock on the Oshodi – Apapa Exp Way

The recurrent congestion along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos, seems to have put all relevant government agencies and government at all levels at their wit’s end, as it has taken a new dimension, owing to the stretch of trucks from Mile 2 to Isolo. This has further heightened the already upsetting ordeals of other motorists plying

The recurrent congestion along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos, seems to have put all relevant government agencies and government at all levels at their wit’s end, as it has taken a new dimension, owing to the stretch of trucks from Mile 2 to Isolo. This has further heightened the already upsetting ordeals of other motorists plying the ever busy express-way, as they are left at the mercy of hoodlums who attack them in broad daylight and at night.

Investigation revealed that the total takeover of the route is an understated protest by truck drivers over the huge demurrage being collected by shipping companies. For example, one of the drivers, who simply gave his name as Gboyega, revealed that shipping companies charged between N24,000 and N45,000 daily as demurrage on empty containers. In order to beat the stipulated days of return of empty containers, trucks drivers according to him, now deploy every available device, including paying officials of the Joint Task Force and area boys to get to the port.

He said, “Before leaving the port, a huge amount of money is paid as deposit, with a stipulated day given to return the empty container, failure of which deduction will be made from source” But at the moment, he lamented that members of the task force and area boys were extorting them beyond their limit. He explained that “People put the blame at our doorstep as if we are not Nigerians too. But they fail to realize what we go through. Every truck you see moving in the day time has paid between N15, 000 and N25, 000 to these Task Force people, while those of us you see on the queue stagnant, have not paid. Initially, they (task force) said we should park on the expressway, leaving the service lane for other motorists. But at the moment, that has changed. You only see trucks on the major expressway at night. But you can only park there after paying between N3,000 and N5000, depending on your bargaining power. At times companies pay as much as N150,000 and N250,000 for their trucks to enter into the port to load, while those of us who rent trucks watch and wait patiently for one week or more before it gets to our turn. When the Task Force was launched, it gave an ultimatum to all trucks to vacate bridges. But come here at night, you will find trucks parked even at the foot of the bridge at night, all because the drivers have paid for space. It is better for government to scrap the Task Force, instead of it to be adding to our problem”.

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