The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has directed shipping companies to henceforth be responsible for the movement of empty containers from their holding bays to the port or face strict sanctions.

This is coming after its intervention halted the agitations and planned a three-day warning strike by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) at the seaports.

The Authority, in a statement by Assistant General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications, Ibrahim Nasiru, said:

The Apapa Port in Lagos

“Shipping companies are to be responsible for the movement of empty containers from their holding bays to the port. Consignees are to drop empty boxes at the designated empty container holding bays.”

It warned that “failure of shipping companies to remove empty containers at the holding bay will attract sanctions.”

Nasiru, who noted that the withdrawal of the strike followed several hours of deliberations between the union and the management, further assured that the situation is currently under control while operations are going unhindered at the ports.

Apapa Tin-Can Road. Photo: Guardian

According to him, the Authority assured members of the union and other stakeholders that the problem of congestion and rent-seeking on access roads to the ports would soon become history with the scheduled deployment of an electronic-call-up system for trucks in January 2021.

Nasiru said the NPA is working with the Lagos State Government to provide truck holding bays as part of the implementation of the e-call-up system.

“In the interim, management is liaising with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the immediate commencement of remedial works on failed portions of the port access road.

“Management is partnering with the Lagos State Government to deploy law enforcement officers for the maintenance of sanity along the port logistic ring,” he stated.

Maritime workers under the aegis of MWUN had threatened to embark on a three-day warning strike from December 9, over the deplorable state of access roads to Lagos seaports.