Stories by Tola Adenubi | Lagos
The former President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Tony Nted, has urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to include the activities of the many tank farms scattered in and around Apapa in its electronic call-up system otherwise referred to as Eto.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune on the sideline of the recently concluded 5th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of MWUN held in Lagos recently, the former MWUN President-General lamented that the activities of petroleum tankers along the ports access road had not been regulated or checked since the commencement of Eto because more attention had been placed on container carrying trucks.
According to Comrade Tony Nted, “The problem with our ports, for now, is that the access roads to the ports are in bad shape. If the government wants to decongest Apapa port, then emphasis should be placed on decongesting the other ports that have very shallow draft. At the moment, vessels of about 30,000 metric tonnes cannot visit these ports due to shallow drafts.
“I remember when I travelled to Mauritania, and some investors over there were asking me how long it will take me to discharge a vessel of 25,000 metric tonnes. I told them that maybe in three or four days. The investors sent somebody down to inspect our ports clearing system as part of their due diligence, and after their findings, they called off the deal because they found out that our access roads are a no go area. This was despite the fact that I had already spent about N20million on the deal.
“Now, the NPA is talking about an electronic call-up system that will regulate the entry and exit of trailers that carry containers, what about the petroleum tankers and the numerous tank farms in and around Apapa?
“If you look at the whole place, petroleum tankers litter everywhere. If we are talking of regulating container carrying trucks, we should also involve the petroleum tanker vehicles. We should check the activities of the tank farms. They are the reason why petroleum tankers besiege the port area.”
On expectation from the re-elected leadership of MWUN, Comrade Nted explained that the Adewale Adeyanju-led MWUN had done very well in the past four years.
In his words, “If you check very well, the maritime industry has been peaceful in the last four years. This is because the leadership of MWUN has done very well in negotiating better working terms with the terminal operators and the shipping companies for the port workers.
“My expectation from them in the next four years is that the condition of service for the dockworkers should be improved upon, amongst other things.”
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