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NPA begins new licensing regime for barge operators to ensure efficiency

Determined to ensure efficient movement of barges within the Lagos coastline, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it has perfected arrangement to embark on new licensing regime for operators of barges in Lagos State.

Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of the NPA, who disclosed this during a recent meeting with newsmen, said there have been some elements of challenges in terms of the regulation of barge operators, which needs to be addressed with the new licensing regime.

Barge operation has become an integral part of intermodal transportation, which is required in order to ensure seamless cargo evacuation from the port. This is why the use of barges to evacuate cargo from the port has become one of the sustainable ways of reducing the burden on Nigerian roads.

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According to her, the NPA has instituted an e-regime for validating the license of the operators, which would have strict requirements in terms of effectiveness by the barge operators.

“The NPA Marine and Operations Directorate is going to embark on new licensing for 2021, which would be centered on ensuring that those barges are functioning above the challenges that we have around the movement of the barges within the coastline,” Usman said.

She further disclosed that the new move will also ensure that the Harbour Master takes control of the activities of the barge operators.

“We also recognise that these operators have some of their equipment in some of the locations where they operate from, but there is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that has been already developed. We are going to share it with our sister agencies to facilitate the necessary comments from those agencies, which can be incorporated in order to have a Standard Operating Procedure that would guide barge operation in Nigerian ports,” she said.

Recall that in September 2020, the NPA in conjunction with Lagos State, ordered the stoppage of all barge operations along the Marina coastline, which according to them, have desecrated the beauty and peace of Marina coastline.

At that time, the Nigerian Ports Authority threatened to revoke the license of barges operating in Lagos due to the long queue of trucks and containers that have constituted health and security hazards on the Marina area.

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