By G9ija

Barge operators, under the aegis of the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) have said it will engage the Federal and state governments over the stoppage of barge operations along the marine coastline to avert further traffic congestion on the ports access roads.

President of BOAN and Managing Director of Connect Maritime Services, Edeme Kelikume, who  spoke in Lagos noted that while operators along the marine coastline have all complied with government’s directive, there is need to for the operators to engage with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to seek alternative arrangement for the operators.

“BOAN is going to have engagement with the appropriate authorities, but for now, all the operators there have stopped operating to show that they all complied with the directive of government’s officials. We are going to engage with them to know what plans they have for operators that are currently operating there, because they are also contributing to reduce the congestion at the ports. With all those jetties stopped now, there will be more congestion one way or the other.

“This is the export season, if you stop barge operations along that location, and there is no alternative, although there are other facilities at Mile 2, Agbara, Ikorodu and other locations, it will impact on the movement of cargoes out of the port and congestion outside the ports, but we are studying the situation. We know the right thing to be done. If the operators are contravening existing laws, then they have to comply with what needs to be done.”

On the revocation of barge approvals granted to member companies operating at the marine jetty, Kelikume said, “if you have been given a license and you met the criteria for the license, then with the ban on their operation, there has to be a review. The announcement just happened and we are already having discussions on how we can move forward. If you are stopping somebody whom you have already given a license and who has met all the requirements to operate from that location, it is quite different from someone you did not give authority. We are not in any way supporting the defacing of the marine coastline but we have to look for how alternative arrangements can be made.”

Recall that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had recently ordered the stoppage of all barge operations along the marina coastline.