The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), has alleged that terminal operators and shipping companies operating at the nation’s seaports were responsible for ever present traffic gridlock on port access roads.
This is even as the union has threatened to shut down Nigerian ports by Wednesday following the refusal of International Oil Companies (IOC) to comply with payment of stevedoring wages and benefits to its members.
Addressing journalists in Apapa last week, President General of MWUN, Com. Adewale Adeyanju accused the shipping companies of benefitting from the gridlock through demurrages paid by importers for late return of empty containers.
According to him, the benefit the shipping companies are getting made it difficult for the presidential taskforce on the decongestion of the road to clear the road of container laden trucks.
He said, “If we are blaming the government, we should blame some of the terminal operators too who allowed empty containers on the roads. What are trucks coming to do, if they don’t have any business in the port why bringing empty containers?.” He continued, “Go to Tin Can they have started repairing the road and in few months time Tin Can will be free,” he assured.
The MWUN Boss however vowed to engage the shipping companies on why they would allow container laden trucks litter the whole port environment.
His words, “We will engage the shipping companies because they are the one causing the problem. The shipping companies are the one causing this problems because they are making money out of the problem through demurrages and others. We shouldn’t blame the government alone but also ourselves.”
Adeyanju the former president of the dockworkers branch of the union however commended the federal government, the Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for their contributions to the repair of the road.
The road, he said has remained a source of concern to the union, “We are concerned because we are a member of the presidential task force but the problem has been there for long and why we didn’t make much noise recently is because of the effort the NPA put in place. “We also commend the effort of the ministry and the vice president of Nigeria that is why we are watching, if we are blaming the government, we should blame some of the terminal operators too who allowed empty containers on the roads. What are they coming to do, if they don’t have any business in the port why bring empty containers. But, go to Tin Can they have started repairing the road and in few months time Tin-Can will be free