All is now set for the celebration of the unsung heroes of the Nigerian port operations and by extension, the entire economy as the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) hosts a maiden Dockworkers’ Day.
With the Nigerian economy predominantly import-dependent, and the ports as gateways to both regional and global trade, driving economic growth and fostering international cooperation with an estimated N33.2 trillion seaborne trade, the role of dockworkers, including crane operators, cannot be overemphasised.
The nation’s economy thrives on its skilful cargo handling. Yet, they have so far not been paid due recognition, unlike most other sectors of the economy, which are even celebrated internationally.
In a statement jointly signed by the President of SCAN, Eugene Agha, and the Secretary, Tony Nwachukwu, the event has been scheduled to be held Thursday, September 7, 2023, at the Conference Hall of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Apapa, Lagos, by 10:00 am.
The event is expected to x-ray the challenges faced by the port workers in their daily struggle to achieve a seamless economy through their seaports, while also looking into the future of their occupation in the light of an ever-improving technology-driven economy.
Vicky Haastrup, chairperson of the event is the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) and Executive Vice – Chairman, ENL Consortium Ltd, while the Keynote Speaker is the Lead Consultant, Justicia Consults and immediate past Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello.
Special honours will be given to some distinguished personalities for their immense contributions to the welfare of dockworkers. These include Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Emmanuel Jime; STOAN Chairman, Vicky Haastrup, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Muhammed Bello-Koko.
Also, to be honoured are the pioneer president of the defunct Dockworkers’ Union of Nigeria, Chief Joshua Ogunleye; immediate past President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Anthony Nted; President-General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, and President, Dockworkers branch, MWUN, Comrade Ibrahim Tajudeen Ohize, among others.
The forum is expected to gather hundreds of maritime stakeholders, including the regulating agencies – NIMASA, NPA and NSC.
Others are terminal operators, shippers, shipping firms, maritime workers and various others in the sector, who will be giving their voices on the activities and challenges facing the dockworkers 16 years post-port reforms of 2006.
“The forum will also highlight the contributions of dockworkers/employers to the port industry as the bedrock of the nation’s economy and showcase the growth and development of Nigerian ports in line with international best practices.
“It will also highlight the imperatives of capacity building in a fast-changing and technology-focused industry, and by extension expose the investment opportunities,” the statement said.