Monrovia — Three Liberian trade unions at the National Port Authority (NPA) under the umbrella of Custom Brokers Association have embarked on a go-slow action, threatening to prevent containers from leaving the port until their demands are met.
The unions, The National Custom Brokers Association of Liberia, The Port Truckers Union and the Duck Workers, had on many occasions called off previous strikes following negotiations by both the managements of NPA and APM Terminals, but, according James Hinneh, spokesperson of the unions, they would continue until President George Mannah Weah addressed their concerns.
Their concerns are "the lack of quality service, the immediate reinstatement of 24 workers of Duck who were suspended by APM Terminals few months ago for advocating for their benefits and imposition of extra fees on customers when there's a delay in loading goods at the port.
Hinneh insists that the extra fees coupled with the delay in clearing goods at the port was responsible for the hike in the price of goods and services on the Liberian market. "After paying and meeting up with all of their necessary requirements, any delay in loading a container as a result of the company's inefficiency, said liabilities should be the Company and not them," said Hinneh.
Hinneh claimed that the port operator doesn't have equipment to work efficiently, but always put the public under false pretense - a situation he said is causing untold sufferings for Liberians.
"There are two active machines which takes two to five days to load a container , and as a result of the delay by APM terminal, customers are tasked to pay extra cost."
"We have repeatedly engaged the National Port Authority, The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the National Legislature and many other key stakeholders about this same problem of inefficiency by the APM Terminals and yet there has been no redress", he said.
"Our people are suffering; people are spending their money but they can't get their goods loaded, Truckers are sleeping in the port without a result, this is unfortunate as such we have embarked on this campaign to ensure a a redress to our plights", he told reporters.