The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Barr Hassan Bello has harps on the need for barge operators to ensure they register with the port economic regulators as part of efforts to ensure a level playing field in the transportation business.
Barr Hassan stated that to protect indigenous capacity of barge operation, it is important to look at proper regulation, the Cabotage Act, and see how the barge operators would fit into the act.
Bello who said this on Friday when he received the executives of the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) at the Council’s head office in Lagos also said that barge operation was a specialised one with a lot of technical and economic operations, hence the need to structure and regulate to ensure smooth flow.
He added that what is needed is good understanding, control and regulation, stressing the need for regulation to ensure sanity among barge operators.
Stating the important of barge operations inn cargo evacuation , he said “Barge operations have come to stay, it is helpful to the economy, in the sense that we need to have multimodal approach that will be used to evacuate cargoes from the port.
“It is very important to safeguard barge operations as a means of conveying cargo and bring them out of the port. It is one of the multimodal approach we have always talked about. It will go a long way in making our ports attractive.
“However, barge operation is specialised and a lot of technical and economic regulations are required
“I am happy the barge operators came here and we discussed the issues of security, safety and insurance, carriage of goods and many other minimum standards for the crew of the barges themselves and even the jetties where they bring out these goods.
“We are in dialogue because we are concerned with the time, the cargo and the insurance even with the frequency of the sailings,” Bello quipped.
Earlier speaking, the President of Barge Operators Association of Nigeria , Mr. Edema Keliekume, hinted the challenges of the indigenous operators to the ES, saying the foreigners had more expertise, more money and better skills of the business than their Nigerian counterparts who are just coming into the business.
He lamented how members had no access to loans whereas the foreigners have access to zero interest loans and are able to afford more sophisticated facilities.
Keliekume disclosed that multiple taxation from different agencies claiming regulatory functions over the business is another factor working against the success of the business.
“We want singular regulatory agency and singular annual charge for smooth operations,” he said..