STRIKE: Shippers Association Seeks Demurrage Waivers On Trapped Cargoes    

The Shippers ' Association Lagos State (SALS) has said that shippers should not be made to pay demurrage on account of the on-going strike action at the seaports, saying that the problem was caused by the managers of the ports system.The association also called on the Minister of Transportation; Rotimi Amaechi to declare a state of emergency at the port following the deplorable condition of the port access roads.Recall that clearing agents and truck owners had since Monday embarked on a nationwide strike to protest the bad state of the port access roads and other challenges including alleged extortion by police, Standards Organisation of Nigeria and indiscriminate issuance of alerts by Customs.   In a statement sent to Shipping Position Daily yesterday and signed by SALS President; Reverend Jonathan Nicole, the association said there was need to declare a state of emergency at the ports in order to save lives and properties.He noted that this will enable the Federal Government to appreciate the predicament of port operators as international trade route is now being threatened. Nicole commended the courage of stakeholders for their consolidated actions toward the permanent resolution to port problems. He noted that even though SALS do not encourage strike actions, however this is very important and unavoidable. While highlighting the negative effect of the strike, he noted that shippers are already losing billions of Naira due to the strike. "Service contracts are being cancelled due to breach of agreement on service delivery, Nigeria Customs Service, though not on strike, will be affected. Shipping Lines and Terminal Operators will also be affected. All the supply chain in the Sector will be affected. Vessels awaiting berthing will likely move to a nearer port outside Nigeria to discharge their cargo. NIMASA might be affected as well as vessels approaching our waterways may be diverted""The effect will certainly reduce imports and revenue to a large proportion as the strike was inevitable due to continued loss of life, trucks and cargo from the ports”, he said.Nicole said that the deteriorated port roads are as a result of negligence on the part of the Federal Ministry of Works and the Lagos State Road Maintenance Agencies. He said both are major beneficiaries of the proceeds. "On Wednesday the 10th of May, 2017, 2x40' trucks laden with flush Ply wood over turned and the consignments fell into the blackish waters by the Coconut axis of the road. The reason was that the pot holes were covered by water from the heavy rains which could not drain out. There is a major man-hole opposite the Trinity Police Station which should be cleared by the Local Government or the Federal and State Governments every day to ease up flood" "They can use pressure trucks to pump out the blockages. The Police Station itself was flooded up to the knee including all the Banks. This has been a regular occurrence for so many years" "Calls for the repairs of the roads started early in 2012 till date. The Honourable Minister of Works is very much aware of the dilapidation of the roads", he lamented.Nicole said it is unacceptable for the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority to promise repair of roads in one month's time. He said that rather, immediate steps should be taken to fix the roads