By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as transportation of cargoes by barges from Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports have peaked since December 2019, stakeholders have called for evacuation of abandoned fishing vessels from the waterways to give way for large flat bottom vessels to move containers freely out of the port
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS, President of Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) Rev Jonathan Nicole noted that there are fishing terminals around Mile 2 area of Lagos which according to him could be converted for offloading of containers since they are no longer functioning.
He observed that most of the barges move containers from Apapa to private terminals around Ikorodu area of Lagos State from where shippers are expected to take their delivery.
The SALS President however lamented that Ikorodu was too far and that moving containers there amounts to double handling.
Proffering solutions to the challenges, he said “They should clear away the fishing vessels that are not working anymore so that the barges can go over there instead of going to Ikorodu, it is costly to go to Ikorodu, it is double handling, because if you go to Ikorodu, you still need to use trucks to convey the goods”
“We have space around the area, the water goes right through Durba in Festac, I don’t see why we cannot utilize these spaces, we can create a space for trucks to move in and pick their containers”
“I don’t think we still have fishing terminals now, so most of the vessels are obsolete, so they can clear the area for containers to be offloaded”
“There is a fishing terminal at Mile 2 where we have ferry port, some of these trawlers have not worked in the last two years, the area can conveniently take a flat bottom vessel”
“Services of barges is not new to our port, even when the ports were working at 100% in those days with NPA, barges were part of transportation”
“Those days you will go to Takes Bay, offload the containers ontop of the barges and return the container to Bullnose”
“Of course, we move some containers by barges to Satellite Town from where you now invite Customs for examination, the bottom line is for you to pay your Customs duties, as soon as your duties are paid , you take your goods and go”
“If we are using the services of barges now, it means the roads would be a little decongested because so many containers would move from the approved terminals through waterways and free up the roads” he said