Following what has been described as insensitivity and poor services at AP Moller Terminal, Apapa, freight forwarders have threatened to embark on a strike action at the Apapa port.
The Freight Forwarders, plying their trade at the Lagos ports, have temporarily halted their planned strike action against the AP Moller Terminal over what they described as the unfair profiteering activities of the terminal operators.
Freight forwarding practitioners, under the aegis of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team, today vowed to withdraw their services over what they described as the economic sabotage by the nation’s leading terminal operator.
The group, in a letter addressed to the Area Comptroller of the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, lamented the shabby examination bay of the APMT which defiled solution from the terminal operators despite repeated appeals.
According to the National Coordinator of the NAGAFF Compliance team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, APMT Apapa is also engaging in profiteering and mindless extortion of freight forwarders using the facility.
While noting that the group has concluded plans to embark on a strike action, Tanko accused the terminal operators of having paid hoodlums to hijack what could have been a peaceful protest in order to blackmail the organisers.
“We have already mobilized our members who are already poised to protest the unprofessional activities going on at the terminal. But I got an intelligence report that the APMT management has gone ahead of us to pay hoodlums to hijack the protest.”
“They did this in order to blackmail the leadership of the Compliance team and rubbish the noble objectives of our action. We are still coming back. The APMT should not think this was the end of the matter neither should they think they can blackmail us to submission as we are determined in our resolve to make the terminal operator do the needful” Tanko stated.
Part of the letter where the angry freight forwarders ventilated their grievances against the Danish company reads, inter alia:
“We write to notify you of our resolve, after repeated attempts to make the APMT Apapa live up to their responsibilities as a concessionaire.
“Several representations have been made, drawing their attention to the deplorable condition of their examination bay. It is so muddy and flooded each rainy season, that it becomes near impossible to conduct an examination of containers without the consignee incurring immense damages to the products and accumulated demurrage of both terminal and shipping charges.”
“It’s a pity that freight forwarders and government agencies dread going there for examinations. The health hazard is more pronounced in the dry season. The dust haze is better imagined than experienced. To make matters worse, their scanning operations are nothing to write home about.”
“It takes an average of five working days to scan a container, woe betides you if it is found suspect. This might take another week and additional payment, both terminal and shipping charges of the container to be positioned for examination. we consider their actions to freight forwarders as an act of wickedness”
“We believe these infractions are carefully contrived to maximize profits at the expense of Nigerian citizens and port users. If not pure profiteering, what does it take a huge company like them to fix their examination bay to world standard?”
“To ease our scanning headaches, we had proposed allowing freight forwarders to use their trucks in ferrying their containers to the machine. In the event of failing the scanning scrutiny, the truck goes straight to the examination platform for physical examination as originally planned.”
“One wonders why the APMT abandoned the use of that platform since the return of scanning operations. In the light of the above, and after numerous representations, we are left with no other option than to withdraw our services and embark on a total shutdown of the APM terminal on Tuesday 13th of June 2023, until the conditions of work in the terminal are improved. It’s in the best interest of our economy and the well-being of our teeming members.”