By Kenneth Jukpor
The myraid of challenges inhibiting cargo evacuation at the Tin Can Island Ports has reached the peak and freight forwarding practitioners under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have resolved to embark on a strike.
Although the date to commence the withdrawal of service hasn’t been announced, yesterday over 100 freight agents appended their signatures in a list of companies and individuals to withdraw services from the port.
This decision was reached after a stakeholders’ meeting which held at the ANLCA Tin Can Island Chapter and provided over by the Chapter Chairman, Prince Olusegun Oduntan.
According to the aggrieved agents, the challenges at the port heightened in the last one month as it takes more than two weeks to exit cargoes from the Tin Can Island Port.
Highlighting some of the causes of the port crisis, they itemized the stripping of containers on the port access roads, noting that Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Police oversee this practice at night.
Barge operations was also itemized as a factor compounding the port access traffic chaos as some terminals have been receiving trucks laden with containers and eventually pushing out the trucks to the roads after collecting the containers.
While NPA has swiftly suspended barge operations for roto cargoes at the Tin Can Port environs, the MMS Plus investigation at the port environment also revealed that several trucks clogging the port access roads are as a result of challenges linked with Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
Speaking with MMS Plus after the meeting, the ANLCA Tin Can Chapter Chairman, Prince Olusegun Oduntan said; “MSC and other shipping companies have turned Nigeria into a dumping ground for empty containers. We haven’t implemented the provision of empty containers holding bays. Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) came up with the novel idea to introduce insurance and remove container deposits, how long will it take to implement this? Who is regulating these shipping companies and terminal operators?
“As you have seen here, everyone has opted for the option of strike and my people’s opinion is what I stand by. We are going to have wider consultations before the strike kicks off.” Oduntan said.
Recall that the Vice President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto on Tuesday, warned that a protest similar to the #EndSARS recently witnessed nationwide could erupt at the ports as a result of the hardship and difficulties in cargo evacuation.