Friday, October 23, 2015 7:20 pm
The President of Shippers’ Association, Lagos state, Mr Jonathan Nicol, has said that vessels are diverting to Cotonou port, Benin Republic due to the strike by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
Nicol made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) in Lagos, on Friday.
According to him, vessels are now moving to other countries to offload their cargoes.
The MWUN, which commenced a nationwide strike on Thursday, was aggrieved over non-payment of tally clerks and onboard security men for the past nine months.
He said the association was disappointed with the neglect of maritime workers in the country by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The shipper said the association was deeply concerned about the ongoing strike at the nation’s ports by the union over the non-payment of wages.
“The seven-day notice of strike was given under the Labour Law. APM Terminals confirmed this in a circular to shippers’ association,’’ Nicol said.
According to him, the strike is not limited to ports in Lagos state only.
“By implication, the Nigerian ports cannot husband vessels and deliver cargoes to shippers. Strikes in Nigerian ports have become a recurring disgrace.
“By this, the shippers association has lost confidence in the NPA’s ability to manage our ports,” Nicol said.
The shipper said NPA could not direct terminal operators to waive demurrage for shippers when issues that prompted strikes at the ports were not the fault of the shippers.
Nicol said paying demurrage on vessels and cargoes was `harrowing’.
He said the Federal Government should declare a state of emergency at ports due to systems failure.
“We are grossly worried that the Shippers’ Council is handicapped to protect shippers in Nigeria because of bureaucracy in the systems,’’ Nicol said.