Port access roads: No going back on strike, truckers warn
A failed portion of the Mile 2-Apapa Road
Barring any last minute change of mind, truck owners and freight forwarders operating at Lagos ports have sworn to go on with their proposed strike action to protest the deplorable state of the access roads to the nation’s seaports, especially Tin Can Island and Lagos Ports Complex both in Apapa, Lagos.
The strike action is expected to totally paralyse activities at the ports and bonded terminals in Lagos from Monday, May 15, 2017.
The 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.
This might likely lead to massive congestion since ships may be able to discharge containers and other cargo that might not leave the ports unless the truckers suspend the strike.
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 sent a copy of the notice is Area Commandant, Area B Police and Port Police Command, among others.
The letter insisted that the joint body has resolved to commence a withdrawal of service as a result of the deplorable states of the Tin Can/Apapa roads which they claimed have been responsible for the destruction of trucks, goods and even loss of lives.
The notice unequivocally stated that the withdrawal of service will continue until the roads are fully rehabilitated.
Meanwhile, National Publicity Secretary of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto, who confirmed that ANLCA is in full support of the withdrawal of services, noted that the move had become inevitable to save the port industry.
He noted that apart from losing valuable goods to repeated cases of their containers falling out of the trucks due to the deplorable state of the roads, also said that many members of the association and other stakeholders have lost their lives while plying the roads.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola had said two years ago that the rehabilitation of the Apapa-, Mile 2 Road was not included in the 2015 budget promising that it would be included in the 2016 budget, which was never done as the life span of the budget ended last week,
Stakeholders have however thrown their weight behind the truckers, insisting that the access roads have remained in that poor state for too long and would therefore require harsh reactions to attract the attention of the government to fix.
A stakeholder who spoke on the condition of anonymity disclosed that the Federal Government makes in excess of N1bilion daily from the two biggest seaports in the country located on those roads, tank farms and other revenue yielding assets of the government, wondering why the government would not want to fix such roads.