Crisis looms at seaports as truckers serve NPA strike notice

TRUCKS owners under the aegis of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has served the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) a strike notice, threatening to withdraw its members from the port by September 26 if nothing significant is done to fix the dilapidated port access roads.

Chairman of the association, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, stated this in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, a copy of which was made available to Tribune Online on Wednesday; that the deplorable state of the port access roads was responsible for the falling and severe damages of their trucks on a daily basis; a situation he said is creating financial difficulties for the operators.

According to Remi Ogungbemi, “In view of the above, if nothing significant is done on the road on or before September 26, 2016, we shall withdraw the services of our trucks from both Apapa and Tin Can ports until the road is safe for movement of vehicles and cargoes.

“In view of the dwindling price of crude oil being the nation’s major source of revenue, we opined that the port should be another survival hub by which the nation could get out of the present recession.

“We believe that the road leading to the gateway to the nation’s economy supposed to be one of the best in the country; it is inexplicable that the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can are being neglected for so long.

“It should have been appropriate for agencies concerned to pay crucial attention to the ports roads by embarking on total rehabilitation.”

It would be recalled that 90 per cent of cargoes exit the seaports via truck operators. A withdrawal of trucker’s services at the ports could spell doom for importers who will have to pay billions of Naira in demurrage if their cargoes get trapped inside the ports in the case of a truckers strike action.