Stakeholders in the maritime sector have commended the Nigerian Ports Authority for its decision to encourage the movement of cargo in barges through the nation’s waterways.
The agency announced last week that as a way of addressing the incessant gridlock along the Apapa Port access roads, it would encourage the deployment of barges in the evacuation of cargoes from Apapa to the hinterland.
According to the Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, the measure is aimed at reducing the pressure on the road as well as the constant gridlock.
The National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Dr. Osita Chukwu, welcomed the development, adding that it would be of immense benefit to importers.
He said that since people still preferred importing their cargoes through Lagos due to the insecurity situation in the Niger Delta, any measure aimed at reducing the delays caused by the Apapa gridlock would also translate to a reduction in the cost of doing business and the prices of goods.
“It is a welcome development. Anything that would reduce the delays caused by the gridlock would also result in reduction in the cost of doing business. The measure would also be of great benefit to importers taking their cargoes to the North because they would avoid the road as much as possible,” he said.
The Chairman, International Freight Forwarders Association, PTML Chapter, Mr. Sunny Nnebe, said the measure would go a long way to reduce the pressure exerted by trucks lined up on the bridges along the Ikorodu Road waiting to enter Apapa.
“Those bridges have been under intense pressure since last year and the situation could spell disaster if it is not addressed urgently. Moving goods in barges through the waterways is a good development and will go a long way in easing the pressure on the bridges and the gridlock on the port access roads,” he said.
In another development, the NPA has commended the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa for serving as an organ for regional cooperation among ports in the West and Central Africa and as a vehicle for the actualisation of the dreams of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
The Managing Director, NPA, Usman, gave this commendation during the PMWCA Technical Committee Meeting in Lagos on Tuesday.
She identified the PMWCA as a platform for the exchange of information and synergy in port operations, administration, legal framework, security and safety of navigation within the Gulf of Guinea and assured the association of full support of the agency.
A statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Abdullahi Goje, quoted her as saying, “Given the enormous potential of the maritime sector on the continent and the significant role that Nigeria plays in the actualisation of this potential, the current management of the NPA is committed to supporting the PMCWA.”
She disclosed further that the NPA would continue to pursue excellence through the automation of operational processes, partnering the private sector for channel maintenance and infrastructural development and collaborating with sister-agencies and stakeholders to build a port community system.
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