The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has established a new regulatory framework for the operation of barges across the nation’s seaports.
A statement by the authority, signed by the general manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication, Olaseni Alakija, stated that the guidelines, which come under a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), must be obeyed by all operators effective September 1, 2021.
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The authority, the statement said, 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.
Failure to meet this requirement will bar an operator from using the channel, it said.
Alakija noted that under the new set of regulations, an electronic call-up system would be developed for deployment for barge operations in which barges would remain at their anchor until they are called to pick or discharge cargo.
The GM said this is aimed at streamlining their movements to reduce congestion and possible threat to ocean-going vessels.
He said NPA has in this regard 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 do not meet the minimum standards for barges and tugboats.