NPA blames operators for crisis
Terminal operators at the Nigeria’s seaports are battling massive congestion after about seven days of industrial action embarked upon by truck drivers, which was suspended yesterday, THISDAY’s findings revealed.
Also, the operators have raised the alarm over the inability of vessels to berth at the ports due to the congestion and the increased turnaround time of vessels to 30 days.
The truck drivers had embarked on strike last Friday, over the failure of the truck call-up system introduced to ease traffic congestion at the Lagos seaports – Tin Can and Apapa ports.
THISDAY gathered that the shipping companies have been unable to give clearing agents rotation number because of the congestion at the seaside, which will also increase cargo dwell time at the port
A manager in one of the leading terminals in container terminal said Ships have started to queue up at the seaside.
He said, “The seaside is congested now and we may not be able to service the seaside until the containers are moved from the ports,” he said.
Sources told THISDAY that the strike was called off after the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) brokered peace between the drivers, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
In a meeting held at the board room of the council yesterday, the executive secretary of the council urged the truck drivers to return to the port.
According to him, “We have persuaded truckers to go back to work. We just came out of a meeting between the truck drivers, NPA and the Nigerian Navy. The truckers complaint has been on holding bay and it is something we need to sit-down and discuss.
Bello also disclosed that shipping companies want to charge for containers going to holding bay but they have stopped it.
“Even though, the shipping companies want to charge for expenses incurred on containers going to the holding bay buyer have stopped that, “he said.
Meanwhile, the NPA has put the blame of the collapse of the call up system on terminal operators and shipping Companies operating as the Tin-Can and Apapa ports.
The authority in a statement made available by the Assistant General Manager, Strategic and Corporate Communication, Isah Suwaid, said it consulted with the operators before embarking on the call up system.
The statement read, “In response to the protests by trucks drivers around the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority has held several meetings with unions between Thursday, July 5, 2018 and Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
“Some of the issues raised by the protesting drivers include the, operation of the call-up system introduced by the Authority as part of our traffic management strategy; alleged extortion by security agencies and the utilisation of holding bays by Shipping companies and Terminal Operators as defined in an agreement in November, 2017.”