Apparently dissatisfied with strike embarked upon by truck drivers operating at the Apapa and Tin Can seaports over failure of the truck call-up system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ease cargo congestion at the ports, the federal government has summoned the leadership of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) to Abuja.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, the president of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said he was in Abuja on Tuesday following the summon of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha. LEADERSHIP had reported yesterday that port terminals at the Apapa and Tin- Can ports were experiencing cargo congestion as truck drivers operating at the Nigerian seaports have stopped lifting cargoes since Friday.
Container terminals at the western port include the APM Terminals Apapa, Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), Port and Cargo Handling Services and Five Star Logistics.
While an average of 700 containers are removed daily at APM Terminals, an average of 500 containers are moved at TICT, Port and Cargo and Five Star, then about 6600 containers of perishable and non-perishable cargoes are presently trapped at the port in the last three days. Bu a source at one of the container handling terminal had confirmed to LEADERSHIP yesterday that the truck drivers have all down tool and refused to lift consignments. He said the truck drivers had also been stopped from using the Ijora bridge by the officers of the Nigerian Navy.
“The truckers have all down tool since Saturday, not one truck have moved cargoes out of the port. The truckers are also calling on the Nigerian Navy to stop the call-up system in use because of the high level extortion and brutality,” he said.
It is widely known that 98 percent of cargoes in Nigeria ports are evacuated out-of the port using the road as rail and water transportation shared the remaining two per cent in the movement of cargoes out of the port. Also, it is only the Apapa port that is connected to rail of all the seaports in the western zone. Also speaking with LEADERSHIP, the National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Liscenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Joe Sanni, confirmed the strike embarked upon by truck drivers. Spokesman of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STAON), Mr Bolaji Akinola, blamed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the problem. He said the decision by the NPA to stop containers that did not originate from holding bays from going into the port led to the crisis.
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