The President of the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) Mr. Edeme Kelikume has disclosed that the association is currently developing strong database software that will provide needful information on barge operations in the nation’s maritime industry for port stakeholders and Nigerians.
The BOAN President also disclosed that the association is in discussion with the Nigeria Customs Service to allow midstream discharge of cargo by ships directly to bonded terminals to ease the movement of cargo in and out of the ports. He said if this is attained, the port environs will be free from traffic as freight forwarders and customs agents will work at bonded terminals and empties will be taken back to the port from here.
Kelikume made the disclosure while addressing the media in Lagos yesterday on the activities of the association and the conference slated for August 24, 2021, in Ikeja Lagos.
He said the software will throw light on the operations of barge operators in the industry. According to him, the software will provide information on the movement time of barges between the ports and final destinations, the volume of cargo (import or export), routes, etc.
“We are building strong database software for the country. The database will shed light on the operations of barge operators in the areas of cargo volume, movement times, routes, workforce, and all other information the industry stakeholders need to know. Port stakeholders and Nigerians can download the software for their convenience to monitor barge operations,” said Kelikume.
The BOAN leader informed that the association is synergizing with all relevant regulators – NIMASA, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to ensuring smooth barge operations – the safety of cargo and that of barges and workers. He added that if necessary navigation aids are provided and wrecks are removed, there won’t be accidents.
“We are working with all these agencies and the Police to improve our operations and infrastructure. If we can sustain this collaboration, there will be efficient barge operations in our waterways,” he said, adding that the association had instituted an insurance policy with capable insurance firms to cover their workforce.
On the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF), Kelikume said the association is also working with the NIMASA to ensure that its members partake in the fund to boost operations and empower its members. “Barge operations in Nigeria are wholly indigenous. It is 100 percent business in the hands of Nigerians. Since we began, we have impacted positively on the socio-economy of not only Lagos State but the entire country,” he said.
The BOAN President said the August 24 conference will enlighten the government, port stakeholders, industry captains, and other port investors on the economic benefits of barges to the port industry and the nation’s economy.