The National Association of Stevedoring Companies (NASC) has warned that labour sourcing actions of terminals and jetty operators in the Nigerian maritime domain are threatening to cripple the fortunes of stevedoring companies operating in the sector.
Speaking exclusively with Nigerian Tribune, President of NASC, Bolaji Sunmola, explained that talks are ongoing with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to see how only government approved stevedoring firms will work in Nigeria’s maritime domain.
According to him, “if terminals and jetty operators continue to deny stevedoring companies the right to operate in their premises, then they are deliberately crippling the fortunes of the stevedoring firms.
“Don’t forget that the stevedoring firms have invested so much in terms of training and capacity building. These investments have taken a lot of years for the stevedoring firms to build.
“Aside training and capacity building, stevedoring firms have continued to invest in their businesses to ensure they meet up with modern way and technologies of doing stevedoring operations.
“As you know, maritime is an international business. It is not peculiar to Nigeria. So, there are international standards and parameters that are used to rate stevedoring firms globally. NASC members have continued to invest in their operations to ensure they meet up with these international standards. I can’t quantify how much has been invested so far. All these investments are all paid for in dollars.
“So if we have invested so much in stevedoring business in Nigeria, depriving our members businesses at the ports is inimical to the development of the sector. We are still hoping that NIMASA will come to our rescue. Talks are currently ongoing.
“There are still a lot of things that needs to be done because we are operating in a country where laws are easily flouted. If an individual can decide to reject a firm that is duly registered and approved by the Federal Government to provide a particular service in a sector, then you know there is problem.”
When asked to list the names of operators not patronising approved stevedoring firms in Nigeria’s maritime domain, Sunmola stated that, “I cannot do that for now. It is not that I cannot mention their names right now, but we are expectant that they will change their approach to stevedoring.
“Many of our members have gone out of business while many don’t have work to do. It is time we get things right in our maritime domain.”