Customs Agents, Truck Owners Suspend Strike at Ports

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Eromosele Abiodun

Customs agents and truck owners at the nation’s ports have suspended the nationwide industrial action declared three days ago.

However, the practitioners gave a fresh 21-day ultimatum to the federal government to address all the issues in contention so as to avert further strike.
Representatives of the agents and truck owners met at the Headquarters of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Apapa, Lagos, yesterday where they signed a statement suspending the strike.

According to the statement, the decision to call off the strike was in consideration of the pleas by government representatives and other well-meaning Nigerians that the strike be suspended.

By suspending the strike, the aggrieved practitioners said government would be in a position to address issues that led to the strike in the first place.
The agents commended the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello and Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, for their efforts in addressing issues that led to the strike.

They also commended the two for their roles in repositioning the total logistics supply chain.
ANLCA, NAGAFF and truck owners association commended their members for supporting the industrial action and for remaining calm while it lasted.
They explained that this was for the interest of the national economy and practitioners.

The grievances of the agents include bad port access roads, arbitrary charges by shipping companies and terminal operators, highhandedness, impunity, extortion against some officials of the customs and other government agencies.
The agents also complained about stoppage and arrest of containers or other goods that had earlier been cleared at the ports by the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the customs on the highways.

The agents also alleged that customs agents or freight forwarders were suffering unwarranted detention in the hands of customs.
Following the strike, the NPA had on Monday offered to repair all the dilapidated ports access roads in Lagos.

The Managing Director of NPA, Usman, made the promise after a tour of the port access roads within the Lagos pilotage district with the Executive Secretary of NSC, Bello, accompanied by the top management team of the two agencies.
Usman said this was part of the efforts to achieve efficient and cost effective trade facilitation in Lagos ports.