FG will fix port roads, NPA, Shippers Council beg truckers
Federal Government agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transport, especially the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Shippers Council have made a passionate appeal to the striking truckers to be patient with the government, assuring that the port access roads would soon be fixed.
The agencies had on Sunday made frantic efforts to stop the strike action called by truckers customs agents and other freight forwarders to protest the poor state of the port access roads, which have been in a severe state of disrepair.
Competent sources said that representatives of the government agencies met with the warring practitioners at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos, to persuade them not to carry out their threat today.
The representatives of government agencies met with the aggrieved stakeholders, assuring them that there is serious commitment on the part of the government to address their grievances with a view to forestalling the strike action.
Sources said that Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello had made a passionate appeal to the warring parties not to embark on the strike because of the consequences on the national economy.
According to a source close to the meeting which lasted till about 9pm last night, Bello had assured that every effort was being made to ensure that the problems affecting trade facilitation are addressed.
But agents, including truck owners insisted that they want to see concrete efforts, such as caterpillars being deployed by the Ministry of Works to fix port access roads, particularly the Tin Can, Apapa road that has been a major problem for port users over the years.
The aggrieved agents said they have lost goods worth millions of Naira belonging to their clients as a result of the bad road.
It was however gathered that in response to pleas made by the NSC-boss, the protesting agents and truckers agreed to revert to the various leaderships of the association involved in the protest to consider and possibly review their positions.
The sources further said that the NSC-boss and his NPA counterpart, Ms. Hadiza Usman and some of the stakeholders are expected to inspect some of the failed portions of the port access roads with a view to assessing the extent of damage and possibly commencement of minor repair works.
A coalition of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF had declared their support for the striking truckers, saying that apart from the poor state of the port access roads, government needed to address some other challenges at the ports.
Some of the challenges listed by the coalition include the imposition of value by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, alleged harassment by officials of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON and other delays and hiccups associated with cargo clearing in the country.
Truckers under the aegis of the Amalgamation of Trucking Associations, Other Stakeholders In Maritime Industry ATAOSMI, who primarily engage in freight forwarding, Customs brokerage services and other total logistics chain, are expected to withdraw all trucks and their services with effect from Monday, a development that would cripple port operations, especially inflow and outflow of cargo.
Chairman of the group, Comrade Victor Nnyosum, who signed the notice of withdrawal of service, which copies were made available to major stakeholders in the industry, warned that nothing would stop the group from making good its threat of embarking on strike over the poor state of the port access roads.
The notice, which was also seen by Business and Transport, Online, had copies addressed to the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council NSC, and General Manager, Western Zone of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA.
Also a copy of the notice is Area Commandant, Area B Police and Port Police Command, among others.