Groaning under intense hardship imposed by poor government policies and global economic crunch, over 20 shipping firms have exited the nation’s shores.
This is coming as Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN) lamented that over 3,000 workers have already been laid off by various shipping companies, terminal operators and logistic companies, owing to lack of financing and poor import policies of the Federal Government.
The workers also blamed the massive retrenchment on the inability of the Federal Government to meet its joint venture obligation with the international oil companies which are major partners with the marine logistic companies.
Some of the companies that have already made an exit include Mitsui O.S.K Line, Nippon Yusen Kasha, Taiwan’s Evergreen Line, Messina Line, Hapag-Lloyd and Gold Star Line (GSL), among others which were forced to withdraw from the West Africa route due to growing losses as a result of declining volumes.
The President, Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN), Anthony Emmanuel Nted, yesterday bemoaned the poor state of the ports, terminal and work environment in the maritime industry.
Nted revealed that about 20 shipping firms have left the shore of the country because of low traffic occasioned by government importation policy.
According to him, Nigeria as an import-dependent country cannot suddenly ban the importation of the principal goods being generally consumed in the country.
“Hence, the current government policy on importation though with the best intention seems to be wreaking more havoc on the economy and ought to be reviewed urgently,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to review the ban on the importation of rice, wheat, vehicle spare parts and industrial machinery until the nation is able to produce for local consumption. He added that the failure to do this would encourage smuggling, diversion of ships to neighbouring countries, idle ports, retrenchment of workers, unemployment and general loss of revenue to government.
According to him, some of the employers of Intels and other logistic companies, which render services to the IOCs are being faced with financial challenges and therefore forced to retrench workers.
He said: “The non-payment of cash calls by government to these oil companies as per their joint venture agreements has been a major setback to the funding of the service of our employers (the logistic companies) and consequently responsible for the massive retrenchment of our members.”