The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says a well-regulated barge operating industry in the maritime sector is critical to ending gridlocks on ports access roads in the country.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made this known in a statement on Tuesday signed by Mr Edward Osagie, Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA.
Jamoh said this when he played host to the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) led by the President, Mr Bunmi Olumekun, at the agency’s head office in Lagos.
“Barge operations have helped to reduce gridlocks in Apapa, as they are involved with the transportation of container goods from one point to another within the inland waters.
“This helps in putting less pressure on our roads, while also contributing their quota to national economic development,” Jamoh said
He urged the operators to invest in modern state of the art barges that could enable them compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Jamoh said this would help them remain in business and protect them from foreigners taking over their jobs.
He also assured them that the agency would continue to promote barge operations as an alternative means of transportation.
Jamoh, however, enjoined them to brace up in the aspect of training of their members.
He noted that training would enable them to meet up with modern day realities and encourage professionalism in the discharge of their duties.
”Capacity development is good for the industry players in order to remain relevant, while being able to compete favourably with operators in other climes.
“The business of shipping is evolving with increase in technological advancement, hence training cannot be toiled with in order to remain valuable in the shipping market,” he said.
Jamoh disclosed that the agency had begun the wreck removal exercise across the country in line with the directive and approval of the Federal Executive Council.
He said that this was to ensure the channels were free for navigation, while also avoiding accidents on the waterways.
“This is the first time the agency has undertaken a holistic approach to wreck removal, cutting across all the zones from Lagos, Port Harcourt among other areas all geared toward safety of navigation,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the President of the association, Mr Bunmi Olumekun, acknowledged the efforts of the agency in carrying out its mandate for the growth and development of the Nigerian maritime sector.
Olumekun pledged the continuous support of the association and cooperation with the agency toward the realisation of the three-point agenda of the current administration. (NAN)