A new regulatory framework for the operation of barges across Nigeria seaports established by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) under its new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is billed to take effect from today, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, the agency has said.
The guidelines, the NPA affirmed must be complied by all operators adding that it is poised to review the modalities for the registration of barge operating license with emphasis on operators meeting the minimum safety standards ((MSS) of their barges.
Its reiterated that failure to meet the requirement will ensure errant operators are bar from using the country’s water channel.
Acting Managing Director of the Authority, Mohammed Bello Koko told stakeholders that under the regulations, an electronic call up system is being developed for deployment for barge operations in which barges would remain at their anchor until they are called to pick or discharge cargo.
This is aimed at streamlining their movements to reduce congestion and possible threat to ocean going vessels, he noted.
Koko explained that the NPA is also set out to capture a comprehensive profile of all barge operators, which will highlight the carriers’ corporate name, to make for easy identification, especially in line with efforts to check the deployment of dilapidated barges that are in poor state and do not meet the minimum standards for barges and tugboats.
Bello-Koko spoke during an interactive session with members of Barge Operators of Nigeria (BOAN) in Lagos.
He added that “There would be a harmonised interactive session (berthing meetings) between the barge operators and the relevant designated Port Managers for specific areas where information sharing would be prioritised accordingly”.