The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal and Lagos State governments to compel shipping companies to provide holding bays for trucks parked indiscriminately along the port access roads.
In a statement signed by the President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, on Sunday, the union alleged that some shipping companies deliberately keep trucks and their laden containers on the port access roads as means of attracting demurrage payment from already overburdened shippers, truck owners and their drivers.
The union, however, warned that if at the end of the ultimatum, the appropriate government agencies and the affected shipping companies failed to address their demand, the union would have no other option than take appropriate and necessary industrial action.
The statement reads: “It is with a keen sense of duty and responsibility that we wish to bring to the public space the inimical activities of some shipping companies.
“Nigerians, especially Lagosians, are living witnesses to the continuous pains, danger, suffering, and intractable gridlock that heavy duty trucks have been causing over the years on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway with its negative economic consequences. We cannot continue like this.
“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 shipping companies as responsible for the gridlock.
“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 parking lots thereby hindering free flow of traffic.
“We are using this medium to call on the Federal Government and (Lagos) 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.”