By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) has given excuses as to why containers are falling inside Lagos inland waters while in transit to Ikorodu.
Recall that the Area Manager of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Eng Sarat Braimah had raised an alarm recently that containers are falling inside Lagos waters, just like they fall on Lagos roads. She had blamed the in incident on the barge operators who sometimes double stack containers in order to make excess profits.
But while addressing journalists in Lagos last week, president of BOAN, Mr. Kelikume Edeme said the incident happened only one time, and that the association has risen to the challenge to stop its recurrence.
Edeme blamed the incident of containers falling in Lagos waters on the bridge constructed across Ikorodu area which he said was disturbing movement of barges.
“On the subject of containers falling inside water, there has been only one incident of container falling inside water, so we have one case out of 300,000”
“After that incident, a lot of measures have been put in place, the particular incident happened at the three bridges where you have to follow to Ikorodu, after this members came together and worked with NPA the regulator to agree that, for barges going to Ikorodu, we would not double stack, this comes with great economic impact on the operators, however, in the interest of safety, which is more than how much you want to make on the business, we agreed not to double stack in order to maintain safety in operations” he said
According to the BOAN President, one of out major challenges barge operators were having is window access to the port terminals.
He however said that recently, there has been an improvement, especially by APMT Terminal Apapa.
“For the whole of last year and early this year, ut was very difficult to get a window to APMT but this has changed recently.
Ports and Cargo should be well commended, they have taken barges seriously, they have an equipment dedicated to barging operations and they are doing very well, ENL is also doing well and a few other terminals”
“Granting access to barge operators is important, it should not be seen by the port terminals as if they are doing us a favour, it is a necessity, if you bring in cargo, you must plan to evacuate the cargo” he said.