Nigerian freight agents end port strike

15/02/2009
Nigerian freight agents end port strike

Nigerian freight and forwarding agents have ended a three-day strike that worsened cargo congestion at the Lagos seaport, a a union spokesman said  Saturday.

"We suspended the strike late Wednesday after the transport minister, Ibrahim Bio, promised to look into our demands," strikers' representative said Lucky Amiwero.He said Bio met with leaders of the striking unions and set up a committee to look into the the issue of high port charges, poor facilities and cargo congestion at the ports.

"We decided to resume work because we believe the minister is sincere in addressing our grievances," Amiwero said.

He said the committee will also move to decongest the ports.

"Right now, there are 93 ships, including oil tankers, waiting to berth at the Lagos port," he said.

He said Nigeria is losing millions of naira in daily revenue as shipping companies and importers now divert their vessels to neighbouring west African countries of Benin, Togo and Ghana because of the congestion.

The agents went on strike on Monday to protest the high port fees levied by the private companies who were appointed to operate the cargo terminals at the country's seaports under the regime of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

On Tuesday, dockworkers joined the strike in solidarity with the agents, paralysing the Lagos seaport.

Other seaports in the southern cities of Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar were unaffected.

 

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