December 9, 2020

FG unfolds 7-point agenda to tackle Apapa gridlock

File image of traffic jam caused by container-laden trucks and tankers on Mile 2-Apapa Expressway.

As Maritime workers suspend planned strike

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has unfolded a seven-point agenda to tackle the perennial Oshodi-Apapa chaotic traffic situation, even as the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, yesterday suspended its planned three-day warning strike over the unending gridlock.

In a communique issued by the Management of NPA and leaders of MWUN on Tuesday after over six hours of meeting, the NPA informed that some of the plans would take off next month (January 2021).

Recall that Maritime workers had scheduled a three-day warning strike from yesterday to Friday to protest the take-over of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway by heavy-duty trucks denying other road users access to the ever-busy Expressway.

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According to the communique signed by Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello Koko, on behalf of NPA’s Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, and the President-General of MWUN, Prince Adeyanju Adewale, NPA promised to do all within its powers at ensuring that the chaotic traffic situation along Ports access roads, particularly Tin Can Island Port axis was addressed.

The communique reads in part:  “All Shipping Companies are to ensure that the size of their respective empty container holding bay are commensurate with the volumes of containers they bring in line with the NPA policy on empty containers. Failure to adhere will result in sanctions.

“All shipping companies are to be responsible for moving empty containers from their holding bay to the port for evacuations. Consignees are to drop empty boxes at the designated empty containers holding bay, failure of the shipping companies to remove the empty container at the holding bay will result in sanctions.

“The Authority (NPA) is putting in place an e-call up a system to ensure orderly movement of trucks into the Ports effective January 2021.  The Management  (NPA) is collaborating with the Lagos State Government to provide land as truck Holding Bay to support the implementation of the e-call up system initiated by the Authority.

“Management (NPA) will liaise with the Ministry of Works and Housing on areas that require palliatives on Ports access roads for immediate attention.  Management is collaborating with the Lagos State Government to deploy an enforcement team to enforce sanity along the Ports Logistics Ring. Management will continue to encourage intermodal transportation to improve the efficiency of Ports operations.”

Meanwhile, in a statement announcing the suspension of the strike after an emergency National Executive Council, NEC, meeting yesterday, Prince Adewale, recalled the Friday, December 4, meeting of the NEC, where it was resolved that a three-day warning strike be declared to protest “the deplorable state and the perennial gridlock on the access roads to our ports that have had an adverse effect on our members, businesses and port users.”

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According to him, the objective of the warning strike was to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the urgent need for the repairs of the access roads, noting however that the federal government the NPA, Nigeria Shippers Council, many critical stakeholders, and other well-meaning Nigerians intervened before the warning strike could commence.

He said: “At the meeting held with the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, the issues contained in our NEC communique of December 4, 2020, were discussed and assurances of addressing the issues appropriately were given by the management of Nigerian Ports Authority as contained in the communique drawn after the meeting.

“Following from the foregoing, the Union called an emergency National Executive Council, NEC, Meeting Today, December 9, 2020 (yesterday) and after due consideration of the assurances commitment given by the Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority, Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, the Union decided to suspend the three days warning strike.”

Vanguard News Nigeria