Apapa Gridlock: Maritime Workers issue 21-day ultimatum to Maersk Line, MSC, Others over extortion

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and Lagos State Government to call shipping companies; Maersk Line, MSC, PIL, and MOL shipping to order, over their extortion attitudes and lack of holding bay.

In a press statement signed by the President General of MWUN on Sunday,  Comrade Adewale Adeyanju alleged that the shipping companies deliberately keep trucks and their laden containers on port access roads as a means of attracting demurrage payment daily from already over-burdened importers, truck owners and their drivers.

The union said these shipping companies have continually dared the Federal Government by failing to acquire holding bays and rather, prefer using their private businesses to cause public nuisance on the Lagos Port access roads.

The union has however warned that if at the end of the 21-day notice, the appropriate government agencies fail to address her demands, the Union shall have no other option than take appropriate and necessary industrial action.

The statement reads “It is with a keen sense of duty and responsibility that we wish to bring to the public space the inimical activities of some shipping industry.

“Nigerians, especially Lagosians, are living witnesses to the continuous pains, danger, suffering, and intractable gridlock that heavy duty trucks have been causing over the years on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway with its negative economic consequences. We cannot continue like this.

“As a major stakeholder in the Maritime sector whose members and activities have been negatively affected by the gridlock on the access roads to the ports especially in Tin-Can and Apapa ports, we have painstakingly studied the causes of the gridlock and have identified the following shipping companies as responsible for the gridlock.

“These shipping companies which include MAERSK LINE, PIL, MSC and MOL deliberately keep the trucks and their laden containers as means of attracting demurrage payment daily from our already over burdened members, truck owners and their drivers.

“They operate along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and do not have holding bays in absolute disregard to regulations and standards which provide that a shipping company must have a holding bay before going operational. In consequence, these companies have converted the major express road to their holding bays and packing lots thereby hindering free flow of traffic.

“We are using this medium to call on the Federal Government and State Government to within the next 21-day call these companies to order and compel them to stop using their private businesses to cause public nuisance.

“If at the end of the 21-day notice the appropriate government agencies fail to address our demand, the Union shall have no other otion than take appropriate and necessary industrial action to protect our members and other road users such as Truck owners, drivers and the public at large.

“As a responsible social partner, we urge all concerned government regulatory agencies to take urgent action and call the aforementioned companies to order, for the betterment of Nigerians, port users and to forestall any action by our members.”