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Strike action grounds ports, rail operations as congestion surcharge looms

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StrikeTHE ongoing strike action embarked upon by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has grounded port operations at Nigeria’s two busiest ports, the Apapa ports and Tin-Can ports. This is even as passenger train services provided daily by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) was halted in conformity with the NLC strike directive.
When Nigerian Tribune visited the Apapa ports in the morning of Thursday, both gates leading into the ports were under lock and key by officials of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), an affiliate of the NLC.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju confirmed that all ports across the country have been shut down in compliance with the NLC directive on the strike action.
According to Comrade Adeyanju, “As an affiliate of the NLC, we have shut down all ports activities across the country.
“No port operations will be allowed to go on in line with total compliance with the NLC strike action.
“No truck or vehicles will be allowed into the ports, and none will be allowed to exit the ports. Compliance to the strike remains total.”
Also speaking to the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, a Customs agent Donatus Orji explained that since the MWUN has joined in the strike action, it means harbour and stevedoring aspect of port operations will not exist.
In his words, “You know that for cargoes to be discharged at the ports, harbour and stevedoring services are very critical. Now the workers who do this jobs are not available, that automatically shuts down port operations.”
When Nigerian Tribune moved around the ports access gates, it was observed that the labour officials even locked out Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) officials from gaining access into the ports.
However, after about two to three hours of being denied access into the ports, officers of the Apapa Customs Command were later allowed into the ports.
Speaking exclusively to the Nigerian Tribune, Spokesperson of the Apapa Customs Command, Nkiru Nwala confirmed that the labour leaders initially didn’t allow Customs officers access into the ports.
“Initially, our officers were not allowed into the ports by the labour officials. But after due consultation, we have been allowed into the ports. We had to explain to the labour officials that we are a paramilitary agency, and cannot join in the strike.
“However, no clearing agents or freight forwarder has been allowed into the ports. So, aside Customs officers who are now inside the ports, no other persons have been allowed in. Nothing is currently happening inside the ports,” the Apapa Customs Spokesperson told Nigerian Tribune exclusively.
When contacted, Spokesman of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Bolaji Akinola expressed fears that if the strike persists, cargo build-up and possible congestion looms.
“Yes, nothing is currently happening inside the ports. The labour officials have shut down port operations. We, however, hope that the Federal Government and the NLC will quickly resolve the impasse that led to the strike action to avoid possible cargo buildup,” the STOAN Spokesman told Nigerian Tribune exclusively.
In a related development, passenger train services provided by the NRC was also grounded all through Thursday. Passengers were seen leaving the Ijoko train stations and Agbado train station after been told by some NRC officials that there won’t be any train services in compliance with the NLC strike action.
Many of the locomotive’s engines were seen parked at the Ebutte-Metta yard of the NRC.

The post Strike action grounds ports, rail operations as congestion surcharge looms appeared first on Tribune.

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