The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has called on barge operators to use standard and quality equipment that are in line with global trends.
The Executive Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Jime, made this known in a statement signed by NSC Head, Public Relations, Ms Rakiya Dhikru-Yagboyaju, on Thursday in Lagos.
Jime, according to the statement, made the call when the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN), led by its Acting President, Mr Bunmi Olumekun, paid a courtesy visit to the NSC Headquarters.
He pointed out that the council, as Port Economic Regulator, wanted efficiency in barge operations in Nigeria, reiterating the need for the operators to embrace digitisation.
“Digitisation will reduce human interface while aiding your operations.
“Be assured of shippers council’s readiness to partner with the operators to address anomalies in barges operations,” he said.
The executive secretary urged the barge operators to take advantage of the ongoing stakeholders’ registration at the council.
He assured members of the association that the council would collaborate with necessary stakeholders to resolve all issues.
The BOAN president, on his part, appealed to NSC to intervene in the issue of barge handling charges.
He noted that the non uniformity of the charges by terminal operators was affecting their business.
Olumekun also said that the imposition of double charges was detrimental to their business.
He said that the engagement of barges for movement of cargo to and from the ports had assisted in reducing congestion and gridlock on port access roads.
Also speaking, an executive member of BOAN, Mrs Bola Muse, lamented that barge operations had not been given attention like other modes of transportation in the country.
Muse advised NSC to summon a stakeholders meeting with the terminal operators in order to proffer solutions to issues inhibiting barge operations.
The Head of Enforcement, BOAN, Alhaji Nura Wagami, also said there was need for a legislation guiding the volume of tonnage trucks are allowed to carry on the roads.
“The roads are death traps and any consignment via road should be regulated to limit volume size.
“By law, barges are to carry goods weighing more than 40 tonnes, but what we see is truckers carrying goods up to 100 tonnes!” he said.