By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that barge operators in Nigerian maritime space are operating with outdated and outclassed barges which are not up to required International standards.
At a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday, Chief Operations Officer of Truck Transit Park (TTP) Limited, operators of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) electronic call-up system, Mr Temidayo Adeboye stated that this was main reason why foreign vessels do not allow barges to berth alongside them to drop empty containers.
According to him, 60% of what is occupying the space at quayside of most of the terminal operators is empty containers and export containers trying to be loaded on the ship.
He said that even when a laden vessel comes, she has no space to drop the cargoes.
“The empty containers ought to be brought by barges which should anchor alongside the ship and offload directly into the ship. But here, we have a challenge, none of the barges in Nigeria meets international standards that would allow a ship to allow them berth alongside”
“There has to be a lot of investments that would go into that sector for us to achieve. If NPA starts driving it and people see the seriousness, they can now collate their funds and bring in world class barges that the shipping lines would allow Longside and offload directly into them”
“If we are able to do this, we would have solved a major problem at the port because the traffic going to the port would be reduced, while the capacity of the port to receive more imports would be enhanced”
“We are planning to work it out with NPA, such that empty containers would no longer have to return to the port by road”
“This is because 50% of the traffic entering the port is empty containers trying to enter the port.” he stated