Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has named four shipping companies which they claim are responsible for the gridlock on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and they have issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal and Lagos State governments to call these companies to order.
The union, who noted that the gridlock has led to negative economic consequences at the Tin-Can and Apapa ports, called on the government to compel them to stop using their private businesses to cause public nuisance.
The union in a statement signed by its President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, warned that failure on the part of appropriate government agencies to address their demand, the union will embark on industrial action to protect its members.
Comrade Adeyanju said: “As a major stakeholder in the Maritime sector whose members and activities have been negatively affected by the gridlock on the access roads to the ports especially in Tin-Can and Apapa ports, we have painstakingly studied the causes of the gridlock and have identified the following shipping companies as responsible for the gridlock.
“These shipping companies which include MAERSK LINE, PIL, MSC and MOL deliberately keep the trucks and their laden containers as means of attracting demurrage payment daily from our already over burdened members, truck owners and their drivers.
“They operate along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and do not have holding bays in absolute disregard to regulations and standards which provide that a shipping company must have a holding bay before going operational. In consequence, these companies have converted the major express road to their holding bays and packing lots thereby hindering free flow of traffic.
“We are using this medium to call on the Federal Government and State Government to within the next 21 days call these companies to order and compel them to stop using their private businesses to cause public nuisance.
“If at the end of the 21 days notice the appropriate government agencies fail to address our demand, the Union shall have no other option than take appropriate and necessary industrial action to protect our members and other road users such as Truck owners, drivers and the public at large.
“As a responsible social partner, we urge all concerned government regulatory agencies to take urgent action and call the aforementioned companies to order, for the betterment of Nigerians, port users and to forestall any action by our members.”