The Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN), says no fewer than one million TEUs of containers and about 500,000 metric tonnes of general cargo move from Lagos ports on annual basis.
President, BOAN, Edeme Kelikume, disclosed this during the first Annual Conference of the association in Lagos.
He said the operators plan to double the figure “given the desirable enabling environment and support of all stakeholders”.
Kelikume said commercial barging of cargo from the port has its teething challenges, noting that its members have contributed to reducing perennial gridlock on the port access road by taking some volume off the road.
“BOAN as an Association has become a child of necessity with the objectives of sustaining the barging industry as well as organising the activities of its members in a professional and efficient manner owing to the emergence of barging as a viable compliment and alternative to road transportation, particularly in the wake of the perennial traffic gridlock along the Apapa port corridor which had resulted to our nation losing huge earnings due to port congestion and poor vessel turn around”, he said.
The President listed regulatory, navigation, infrastructural and human capacity as some of the challenges militating against commercial barging operations in the country.
He said in spite of the challenges, “the future looks very bright for the industry to rise up to the occasion of contributing and revamping of our economy by improving the maritime sector and boosting revenue earning especially in the export sector, as the nation prepares to take full advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA)”.
Kelikume called on the government to urgently embark on the removal of hazardous wrecks from the waters, as well as provide navigational aids to ensure safety and smooth sailing of barges at all times.
He urged the operators to carry out their activities in line with the laid down rules and regulations that govern the operations.
“We are all aware that barge operation serves as efficient means of transport to move containerized cargoes from the port in Lagos to designated points through barges using waterways”, he said.
Customs Cautions Officers On Improper Dressing, Unkempt Beards
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has threatened to sanction its officials for improper dressing and unkempt beards. Other minor violations include use of name tags.
This was contained in a memo issued by the Deputy Comptroller General, Human Resources Development of NCS, A.T. Babani.
The memo number HRD/2021/026 titled: “Introduction of Customs Police Caution Slip in the Service” was dated 10th September, 2021.
The memo stated that the caution slip would be issued in triplicate for minor offences such as improper dressing, use of unapproved name tags, and failure to shave among others.
The service said it has introduced the use of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
The memo reads, “I am directed to bring to your notice that the Comptroller General of Customs has approved the usage of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
“The slip which will be administered by the Customs Police Unit of various Zones/Area Commands would be in triplicate and once issued, a copy shall be forwarded and inserted into the officer’s establishment file.
“The issuance of the Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) will include offences such as improper dressing, multi-colour waist belt other than approved one and usage of unapproved name tag, failure to shave, and other sundry minor violations of the second regulation 13 of the Customs and Excise Management Act CAP LFN of 2004 as amended.
“The caution slips would serve as a proactive tool to ensure compliance to rules and regulations.
“First-time offenders, repeated offenders and consistent pattern of offence identified, shall be documented and used for strategic decisions making”.
Stakeholder Tasks RSG, MWUN On Piracy
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, says the union and the state government need a strong synergy to tackle the act of sea piracy and all forms of criminal activities in the state’s waterways.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers state Branch, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, in an interview with The Tide, noted that unlike in Lagos State, there was no synergy between the Rivers State Government and MWUN to curb piracy on the waterways.
“We need to work together to checkmate all forms of criminality, sea piracy and attacks on passenger boats in our waters”, Jumbo said.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that the state government and the union were working in parallel lines, hence the high rate of piracy on the waterways.
Jumbo said, lack of synergy between the state and the union was having negative turns in its operations, thereby not improving marine transport business in the state.
The chairman said the union alone cannot solve the problem of insecurity in the waterways, hence the need for collaborations between the state government and other relevant authorities.
He further noted that Lagos State was doing well in marine transportation because there was a strong synergy between the state government and the union.
“Lagos state maritime business is improving every day with more fleets because the government, stakeholders and the union are working towards ensuring success”, he said.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Inadequate Facilities At MAN Worry Mariners
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has lamented lack of simulators for training of cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
The body also decried lack of ocean-going vessels to enable the cadets of the academy acquire the mandatory sea time experience.
NAMM President, Capt. Tajudeen Alao disclosed this during an interview with newsmen, recently.
“Training at the Academy had always been as per the International Maritime Organisations (IMO) model courses”, he said.
Capt. Alao said the shortcomings have always been in the areas of lecturers, simulators and international trading ships for practical exposure.
Other challenges include lack of funding, bureaucracy and the Nigerian factor.
“Leadership of the academy too has not been based on professionalism but political consideration. The shipping companies who are end-users have not committed their services to the academy.
“The number of students per class is much more than what is obtainable in the western world.
“There are no core ship-related courses, not many courses, facilities and disciplines,” Alao said.
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