By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Senior Staff Association of Shipping, Clearing and Forwarding Agencies (SSASCFA) has alleged that some terminal operators in Nigeria are now preventing loaded cargoes from being stemmed to Inland Container Depot (ICD) and bonded terminals.
President General of SSASCFA, Comrade Harrison Ugochukwu Asonye stated this while speaking on Monday at the National Executive Meeting of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Lagos.
Even though he did not mention names, Comrade Asonye raised an alarm that massive job loss looms in the maritime sector if the anomaly is not corrected.
He said “We have observed what terminal operators are doing recently, the ICD’s have done marvelously well in ensuring that there is no congestion at the ports.
“But today, some terminal operators have decided not to allow allocation of containers to some of these ICD’s. Most of these ICD have created employment, how would they sustain these employments if they don’t get allocation of containers?
If you don’t get allocation from shipping companies you cannot remain in business
“The terminal operators are saying that they are the main concessionaire and they cannot allow a container to leave for the main port of discharge.
“If I am an employer, I operate an ICD and I don’t receive import containers, do you think I would retain my workers? The answer is No, especially at this period of a new normal” he said
Comrade Asonye also raised fears that the era of artificial intelligence and port digitalisation would render many workers in the maritime sector jobless.
“In this period that we have decided to apply artificial intelligence and digitalisation, it is another way of reducing employment and tactically creating unemployment in the maritime sector.
So, how do we combat this with the help of our employers.
“The issue of outsourcing is now the order of the day, so many organisations today, especially the multinationals are now embarking on outsourcing, and as a matter of fact they would tell you that our law supports outsourcing.
“We are Nigerians and we have brothers and younger ones looking for jobs, people are now moving our jobs to outside the country” he lamented