… Freight forwarders associations to review action
After about 10 days of withdrawal of services from the AP Moller Terminal (APMT) and ENL both in Apapa Lagos by the Freight forwarders under the aegis of Apapa Joint Association (JAC), the management of Lagos Port Complex (LPC) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has cleared the blockade mounted by clearing agents and re-opened the nation’s major seaport for business.
JAC which comprise of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) and the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) had on November 3, 2014 withdrawn their services from APMT and ENL citing high handedness on the part of the operators.
Port Manager of the Lagos Port Complex, Mr. Nasir Anas Mohammed said, “The port is now open and people are free to come in and transact their business”.
Mohammed said the men of the Nigeria Police Force and other security operatives have been put on alert to provide security to anyone willing to transact business at the port.
“We have informed the agents that while they have the right to protest, they do not have the right to blockade the port or disturb others who have legitimate transactions to carry out at the port. So we have informed them and they have also seen reason with us”.
“We assure all port users that their security is guaranteed. The Police and relevant security operatives have been duly informed and they have assured that adequate security will be provided to all port users. Trucks are free to come into the port, load and exit without entertaining any fear”.
“We are also mediating in the matter between the agents and APM Terminals with a view to reaching an amicable solution but port operations will continue as the talks hold,” the Port Manager said.
The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) had earlier described the blockade as “a reckless act capable of hurting Nigeria’s economy”.
It is estimated that the Nigerian economy loses about N5 billion daily as a result of the agents’ action.
However, addressing newsmen at a Press Briefing at Apapa on Wednesday, the Chairman of ANLCA Apapa Chapter, Mr. Olumide Fakanlu who spoke on behalf of other Chairmen present at the briefing said that there was never a time freight forwarders blockaded the Port challenging the journalists to carry out independent investigations.
Olumide stated that the freight forwarders only withdrew their services from the terminal demanding that it meet their demands which were nothing other than improved services.
He disclosed that while they had withdrawn their services from APMT since the 3rd of November, 2014 and it appeared the terminal’s management was not yielding to their demands, they might have to suspend their action so as to enable their national leaderships to take over the matter from where they stopped.
He said, “We call on the relevant government agencies at Federal and State level, the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and others to rise and rescue Nigeria from the hands of these colonial merchants”.
“We have withdrawn our services from APM Terminals since 3rd of November, 2014 but APM Terminals Ltd. Remained adamant making us believe the company is above Nigeria and the Nigerian National interest. Therefore, we may suspend our actions at the moment for our national leaders to take over from thereof”.
As at the time of filing this report, the National Executive Committee meeting (NECOM) of ANLCA was meeting at the ANLCA National Secretariat, Dikko Inde House, Amuwo-Odofin Lagos while that of NAGAFF was scheduled to take place tomorrow at NAGAFF village, Apapa Lagos.