Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened industrial unrest over the Apapa gridlock in Lagos.
The union, which issued a 21-day ultimatum to the federal and state governments to end the traffic problem, accused four shipping companies of being responsible for the seemingly intractable gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa dual carriageway.
A statement yesterday by the President-General of the MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, urged the governments to call the affected companies to order, failing which members would withdraw their services at the nation’s ports.
He listed the shipping companies responsible for the menace as MAERSK LINE, PIL, MSC, and MOL, accusing them of not having holding bays in absolute disregard for regulations and standards which provide that a shipping company must have the facility before beginning operations.
According to the union, the affected shipping companies deliberately delay trucks laden with containers to attract demurrage payment daily from already overburdened union members, truck owners, and their drivers.
“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, we have painstakingly studied the causes of the gridlock and have identified the shipping companies as responsible for the menace.”
He said Nigerians, especially Lagos residents, were living witnesses to the continuous pains, danger, and suffering that the heavy-duty trucks have been causing over the years on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
“We cannot continue like this. They operate along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and do not have holding bays in absolute disregard for regulations and standards. In consequence, these companies have converted the major express road to their holding bays and packing lots, thereby hindering the free flow of traffic.
“We call on the Federal Government and the state government to, within the next 21 days, compel the shipping companies to stop using their private businesses to cause a 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 option than to take appropriate and necessary industrial action to protect our members and other road users,” the maritime workers said.