About 34 vessels expected at seaports across the country, particularly in Lagos, may be impeded by dockworkers’ strike.This was contained in the Shipping Position issued yesterday by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
It revealed that many of the vessels are conveying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol, Automated Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel, and general cargo goods, as well as sugar and wheat.
The vessels, slated to arrive Lagos pilotage district from today to the end of the month might be in jeopardy, as dockworkers have endorsed the strike and are ready to shut the ports from business activities.However, four vessels that are waiting to be berthed and eight motor tankers that have already arrived the ports might be affected by the industrial action.
The motor tankers are all laden with petroleum products while the vessels have wheat and fertiliser.The strike will involve all affiliates of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and United Labour Congress (ULC), including the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), of which the dockworkers and all other shipping companies are members.
Efforts to reach the President, MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, were not fruitful, as he did not pick phone calls, or responded to text message sent to him yesterday.But a source in the union who preferred anonymity told media that the group is currently mobilising its members for the strike.He said they would not hesitate to shut the ports, if the Federal Government fails to meet their demands.
Importers and clearing agents are expected to suffer losses from the strike, as closure of port activities comes with heavy storage charges.The industrial action will also worsen cargo congestion in the ports, which has not abated after the last strike in October.
An importer, Johnson Abiyebi appealed to the Federal Government to reach an agreement with labour to halt the strike, as the masses will be the ones to suffer.
“The closure of the ports will lead to another round of congestion. I don’t know why our leaders are treating us like this. The port is not accessible, the roads are bad, we cannot clear our goods and demurrage is accumulating on daily basis. “This action will definitely worsen the matter, and I can say I am already regretting importing though Nigerian ports,” he said