APM Terminals Apapa, Nigeria’s largest container terminal, was on Thursday honoured by the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) with a special recognition award for setting new standards for the welfare of dockworkers in Nigeria.
The award was presented to the terminal as part of the maiden SCAN Dockworkers’ Day celebration held in Apapa, Lagos.
“APM Terminals is being honoured for successively setting a benchmark in salary, insurance, capacity building and general welfare of dockworkers far ahead of other terminal operators in the country, and for pioneering the training of female crane operators in a predominantly male-dominated sphere, thereby increasing their skills and employability,” the association said.
Adewale Adeyanju, president-general of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), who presented the award on behalf of SCAN, commended APM Terminals Apapa for granting palliatives to its employees and for creating a conducive working environment at the port.
Also speaking, Vicky Haastrup, chairman of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), said over the past 17 years, terminal operators have raised the salaries of dockworkers by more than 2,000 per cent.
Haastrup said before cargo handling operations were concessioned to private terminal operators in 2006, dockworkers were dehumanised, underpaid and did not have conditions of service.
“We recognise the importance of our dockworkers. They are professionals and essential workers. They are vital and crucial to port operation. Indeed, without dockworkers, we cannot talk of effective port operation. The story of the success of port concession cannot be written without copious mention of the role of dockworkers,” she said.
Steen Knudsen, terminal manager of APM Terminals Apapa, who was represented by Temilade Ogunniyi, commercial manager, and Benedict Nwangwu, employee relations manager, commended SCAN for recognising the efforts of the terminal operator in lifting the standards of port operation in Nigeria, and in enhancing the welfare of its employees.
“Since inception, we have invested around $438 million in cargo handling equipment at the terminal. We have acquired Mobile Harbour Cranes, Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes, Reach Stackers, forklifts, terminal trucks, and empty handlers and invested in yard improvements.
“An equally important investment is the investment into our workforce and ensuring that we continuously develop our staff. This covers training, career progression and, of course, expanding the business and creating new jobs,” Knudsen said.