By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, have set up committee to formulate modalities for the regulation of barge operations in the country.
The setting up of the committee is as a result of the irregularities in barge operations ranging from the specifications, the loading, insurance policies, night operations among many other things.
Speaking with Vanguard Maritime Report on this, Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello, said the absence of regulation is dangerous to all parties involved in case of an accident.
Bello explained that the three government agencies are putting finishing touches to the process leading to the regulation of barge operations in the country.
According to him, “Transporting cargo by barges is a welcome development but it is unregulated and we have set up a committee comprising NPA, NIWA, and NSC to look at the issues.
“Barge operation is not regulated, which is dangerous; you do not know the specifications of the barges, the load they could carry, or if there is any insurance; and whether they can operate at night and so many other things are left for the operators.
“That should not be so; we are having a meeting to come up with a regulation. Our concern is the distance, if there is an accident, it is the cargoes that would be affected, and it is very dangerous. We need to step in but because of COVID-19, a lot of things have been stopped for now. We need to step in to make sure things are done right,” he concluded.