12 January 2021, Sweetcrude, LONDON- Container shipping group, Maersk Line, says it has been unable to bring its vessels carrying consumer goods and foodstuffs into Nigerian ports as a fourth day of nationwide strikes has brought terminals to a standstill.
Nigerians have taken to the streets across the country to protest against the government’s decision to remove popular fuel subsidies, which more than doubled the price of petrol, shutting banks, shops and schools.
Sonny Dahl, director, West Africa Services at Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, said its container ships were stuck outside ports.
“Everything is at a standstill – there are no operations going on and everything is at a general strike level,” Dahl told Reuters.
Container ships normally bring in much of Nigeria’s consumer goods and also transport foodstuffs.
Dahl said eight of the company’s container ships were being affected by the disruptions at ports across the country.
“They are carrying consumer goods of various kinds and foodstuffs,” he said.
He said some of the vessels were already anchored outside ports, while others would arrive in one to two days.
“We are consistently evaluating whether we should divert any of them to other ports (outside of Nigeria),” he said.
“For now, we have made a plan until early next week that we wait outside. It’s anyone’s guess when the strike will end.”
Maersk Line, a unit of Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk, said the Nigerian market represented 60 percent of its container ship imports into West Africa.
Nigeria’s main oil union said on Thursday it would aim to shut down the country’s oil and gas production from Sunday.
Oil industry officials doubted unions would be able to stop crude exports completely, but even a minor outage could have a significant impact on the economy.
Shipping sources told Reuters offshore oil terminals were operating as normal on Thursday.