Presentation By The President General, MWUN At Town Hall Meeting By Journalng

I wish to stand on existing protocols. I bring you fraternal greetings from the entire membership of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria. I want to specially recognize and applaud JournalNG, the organizers of this event which is the maiden edition of JournalNG Port Industry Town Hall Meeting. Organizing, ladies and gentlemen is one of the hardest chores to carry out to a successful point- I should know this because it is at the core of union activities and actions. Once again, kudos- JournalNG for putting together these town hall meetings.

It is the hope of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria that this programme grows in leaps and bounds and will not witness the epilepsy of Nigeria’s electric energy supply but enjoy the multiplicity of quality and steadfastness.

I have been asked to present perspective of labour in the Apapa Gridlock. This for us is a very sensitive issue as it lies in the core of our operations and that of the maritime industry growth. So, it is with keen sense of duty and responsibility that I wish to appreciate the Presidential Task Force on Port congestion, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and interested corporate bodies especially Dangote group and Flour Mills Nigeria Limited for the very important roles they have played and are still playing to ensure the abatement of gridlocks to Lagos ports.

At least recent reports and experience indicate that the gridlock has abated meaningfully although it is still yet to clear occasioning pockets of traffic grid intermittently. Commuters on the Mile 2- Apapa Port Road now heave in relief while plying the routes/roads.

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 painstakingly studied the causes of the gridlock and identified the main causes of the gridlock to include some shipping companies deliberately keeping their trucks and empty containers as means of attracting demurrage payment daily from our already over burdened members, truck owners and their drivers. This is to their selfish interests.

Also the lack of holding bays in absolute disregard to regulations and standards which provide that a shipping company must have a holding bay before going operational, contributes immensely to traffic gridlock as a consequence of these companies converting the major express road to their holding bays and packing lots thereby hindering free flow of traffic.

We are using this medium to all on the federal Government and State Government to call these companies to order and compel them to stop using their private business to cause public nuisance.

As a responsible social partner, we have called on governments and its regulatory agencies to take urgent action and undertake any means to cause reduction in the traffic gridlock on our port access roads. We note especially the need to urgently initiate palliative measures in motion on the Mile 2/Coconut/ Tincan axis.

On this note I like to thank the pro-activeness of the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for their innovativeness for the E-Call up systems for trucks and other sundry innovation as creation of holding bays for trucks in Ijora and Tincan Island Ports. We also wish to caution individuals or companies who daily sabotage the E-call up system as this is to the disadvantage of citizens and maritime stakeholders.

We also use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian Ports Authority to consider reviewing the conditions attached for individuals and companies to own a parking garage/bay, as the conditions currently attached to it is stringent thus, making it near impossible for organizations to meet.

On another note, the Federal government is enjoined to consider relocating the petroleum product tank farms top places like Epe, Ikorodu and so on that are less populated as the continuous retention of these tank farms in this already densely populated area, outside of creating gridlocks and constituting environmental hazards, is a waiting time bomb.

A lot still needs to be done in the very long term to ensure that our current state of free flow of traffic on our ports access roads remains to help shore business turn around time in our ports, jetties and terminals. On this note the need for an alternative means of conveying cargo from one point to another cannot be over emphasized determining the need for the expansion of Barging as a means of conveyance of cargo and freeing the roads to other uses.

In closing, I wish to thank the Presidential Task Force on traffic control, the Police force, Navy and other para-military personnel who join forces daily to ensure that the freeness of the road we currently enjoy persists and lasts for all and sundry.

Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria thanks JournalNG and assures you of our continued collaboration and partnering for the further development of the maritime sub sector. Thank you for listening. I wish you all the best of deliberations in your town hall meeting.

Comrade (Prince) Adewale Adewanju,who is the President General of Maritime Workers Union Of Nigeria, made this presentation at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos, Thursday October 28th, 2021

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