Port Truckers Threaten Go-slow Action

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The Port Truckers Association of Liberia (PTAL), which transports containers loaded with goods of various kinds to stores and other areas, has threatened to get on a go-slow.
If this happens, economists have predicted that there might be a slowdown in the day-to-day economic running of the country as these container trucks transports the basic daily consumption goods to the grocery shops and stores, including supermarkets around the country.
Addressing a press conference over the weekend in Monrovia, Mr. William R. Dewalt, president of the PTAL, said for the past two weeks they have been facing problem with the loading process in the port.
Dewalt noted that the APM Terminal and the Liberian government went into a 25-year lease agreement, which he noted the company has the right to control the discharging and charging all vessels that come within the port as well as control the movement of containers and discharging of vessels and loading trucks at the port.
According to him, for the past weeks, APM Terminal has being delaying in discharging/loading trucks, “all because they do not have good machines at the port and they are making lot of money from the business communities at that port.”
He said presently only one machine APM Terminal was using to serve other consignees and leaving members of PTAL. “This is impeding our progress to reach our customers, who distribute to the lowest echelon of the consuming public in the economy,” he added.
The president of PTAL disclosed that, APM Terminal issues them loading slip and added that if one has two containers to remove from the port on the same day, but because APM Terminal is slow to load owning to all their machines being broken down and in their garage, their trucks will sit in the port for six to seven hours before one is loaded. “Sometimes, we even sit there until the next day to be loaded by one machine that APM Terminal is now using,” Dewalt added.
He stated it even becomes worse when a containers ship is docked at the port, because APM Terminal is only using a single machine, all their trucks will be parked until the containers are off loaded and loaded from and to the vessel.
He said the things that exacerbated their anger is APM Terminal charges them for storage and when they are not loaded because of the company’s fault, they are still asked to pay the fee the next day even though it is not their fault to be delayed.
“All of these delays have an effect not only on truckers but also consigning and consumers, because if the consigning pay additional storage fees they will increase they product on the Market as the result the economy begins to get tough,” Dewalt stressed.
“We have called on them on numerous occasions to be flexible in the process but they have refused. We have been holding back but it has now reached a point where we will have to go on a go-slow even though we do not want to go-slow in our economy,” he said.
Dewalt disclosed that they had planned to go-slow today, Monday. However, he said looking at how the economy is now regressing daily, they thought it wise to inform the public, including the Liberian Government and if nothing concrete is done to get things moving fast as it relates to loading their trucks, they are going to definitely result to their go-slow action.
When contacted Saturday, July 12, APM Terminal promised to get to us the same day; but up to press time, APM Terminal did not get back to us.

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