As part of measures to checkmate the perennial gridlock in Apapa, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN has given APM Terminals Apapa Limited a 14- deadline to evacuate all empty containers belonging to it, many of which have been abandoned on various port access roads in Apapa, thus worsening the traffic situation in the area.

APM Terminals is the concessionaire in charge of the former Container Terminal, located within the Lagos Ports Complex, Apapa, which handles more than 50 per cent of the container traffic into the country.

The Deputy Secretary General of the union, Comrade Edwin Sambo, in a statement said that the ultimatum has become necessary to compel the terminal operator to urgently remove all empty containers belonging to it that have been abandoned on the roads, thereby contributing significantly to the gridlock in the area.

The union warned that it will take a drastic action against the company if the empty containers were not removed within stipulated14 days, which takes effect from Tuesday August 8, 2017.

But in a swift reaction, the management of the company has said it was not responsible for controlling traffic in Apapa and hence cannot be held liable for the gridlock in the area.

According to Deputy Secretary General, the decision of the company to abandon these empty containers, which litter every constitute a major hindrance to movement in and out of the ports, as these empty containers inhibit truck and other vehicular traffic around the ports.

The statement reads in part: “In view of all these hiccups caused by the abandoned empty containers, the management of APM Terminals is hereby given a 14-day notice from the date of the letter to put all necessary arrangements in motion to ensure that the blockage caused by the empty containers is totally cleared for business and other port-related activities to go on at the ports unhindered”.

“The security of lives and property in and around the environment has deteriorated so much that rape and brigandage have become the order of the day because of this and the union cannot continue to sit and watch while the situation goes out of hand. You can agree with me that workers, port users and the general public are at the receiving end, as many of them trek very long distances for hours before accessing the ports and other workplaces.

“Please be informed that the union will not be held liable for whatever action we might deem fit to take in the event of your refusal to get your empty containers off the road” .

The union insisted that the blockage was against the objectives of the Executive Order introduced by the federal government at the ports.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday signed by its General Manager Communications, Augustine Fischer that like other stakeholders, it is a victim of the menace of the Apapa gridlock and not in any way the cause.

It also said its members of staff, service providers, contractors and customers have to go through the harrowing traffic experience everyday just like every other person, who works or does business in Apapa.

“We are aware APM Terminals is being accused of causing the traffic gridlock in the Apapa area and we would like to set the records straight”.

“APM Terminals Apapa is as much of a victim of the traffic gridlock as everyone else. Our employees, service providers, contractors and customers have to go through the harrowing traffic experience everyday”.

“These employees are the ones that operate the equipment that service the trucks and would not by any means delay or stop servicing trucks unnecessarily as it would equate to ‘shooting ourselves in the foot’,” Fischer said.