Economic activities are being disrupted at the nation’s seaports as the Marítime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) shut down operations at the port on Tuesday due to NLC strike
The Maritime Workers joined the two-day warning strike of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the cost of living crisis caused by the removal of petrol subsidy.
The Apapa and Tin-Can Island seaport gates were all locked. Also, amid the chaos, the Mile 2 road experienced a standstill as vehicles refused to transport commuters, leading to disruptions in some offices in the Apapa area.
The action commenced on Tuesday and resulted in a crowd gathering outside the Apapa port as staff were denied entry.
Yusuf Liadi, a transporter, said that no truck had exited or accessed the port since morning.
He advised that already cleared cargoes should be allowed to exit the port because importers will incur more demurrage and shipping charges, which is also detrimental to the fragile economy.
“We are already suffering in this country. We are suffocating. For instance, I left my house this early morning for Apapa to evacuate an already cleared container to the importer’s warehouse, only to be told now that there is a strike and no consignment will be allowed to move.
“This is a double tragedy for the agent and importers because they will pay demurrage and storage charges to shipping companies and terminal operators,” Liadi said.
He said, “The government should provide palliative; the suffering is much. I spent over N5,000 to come to Apapa due to the high cost of transportation; the Government should do something before it leads to chaos in the country.
On her part, Joy Onome, public relations officer of the Tin-Can Island Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), confirmed that Maritime Workers and clearing agents shut down the port gates and were denied access into the port.
According to her, business activities will be crippled for two days, implying that importers and their agents will be forced to pay millions of Naira worth of demurrage and storage charges to shipping companies and terminal operators for the delay in cargo clearance.
Steve Ibe, a port worker, expressed frustration with the Federal Government’s negligence towards the suffering of Nigerians.
He said the two-day strike won’t be sufficient and called for a complete shutdown.