Dockworkers decry low patronage at Rivers Port

Mkpoikana Udoma 03 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Dockworkers Branch, has lamented the drop in cargo vessels calling at the Rivers Port, saying this has brought financial hardship to its members.

Calabar portThe chairman, Dockworker Branch of MWUN in Rivers State, Mr. Tony Wokocha, disclosed this in Port Harcourt, maintaining that since there was a lull in vessels at the Rivers Port, the dockworkers were facing financial challenges due to the nature of their job as it was based on tonnage handling.
“There is anxiety over low vessel arrivals at the Rivers Port, even as dock workers cry out over hardship.
“You know no work, no pay. As it stands now, dockworkers will hardly go home with N2,000 in a month. The situation is precarious. We are afraid because we do not know how long this will last,” he said.
The union’s boss further explained that the economic hardship confronting dockworkers in Rivers Port was biting hard as he pointed out that most of the workers were family bread winners.
According to him, “some dockworkers have family of three to five, and can no longer put food on the family’s table. They can no longer pay school fees for their children and the children are dropping out of school.”
Some of the dockworkers, who also spoke with newsmen, said they were facing great challenges due to the drop in cargo visits.
They, however, attributed the development to government’s policy on importation and preference by most importers to ship their cargoes to the western ports (Lagos) rather than the eastern ports.
The dockworkers also said the high foreign exchange rates had also contributed to the poor cargo vessels calling at the port.
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