General

Ports congestion: Reps urge NCS to reverse ban barges

The Nigerian House of Representatives has urged the Comptroller General of Custom to immediately reverse the ban on the use of barges to evacuate containers and other cargoes to and from the ports to improve the free flow of traffic around the ports.

This followed the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance, presented at plenary on Thursday.

Mr Leke Abejide, the sponsor of the motion, argued that adoption of barges as a mode of transportation, is the latest of the aggressive efforts by the ports authority to lift containers from the actual wharves to lighter terminals all around Lagos contribute to the easing the chronic congestion in and around the ports.

Mr. Abejide noted that, rather than the drastic measure of a total ban on barges as a mode of transport of containers, the NCS should explore options of consultation with relevant bodies and stakeholders with the aim of enhancing and standardizing the use of barges as an effective transportation mode.

“The NCS’s directive of banning the use of barges is against the concerted efforts of the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government’s various efforts to create international best practice multimodal transport options and in improving the free flow of traffic around the ports.” He added.

The lawmaker said that the ban is causing perennial traffic gridlock that has paralyzed operations and commercial activities around the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, that calls for innovative options to moving containers from and to the ports, such as the use of barges and the rail system.

Though the ban is coming at a time when the government enforces closure of land borders with its West African neighbours forcing the diversion of cargos through the seaports, the effort was aimed at reducing pressure on the road networks and free access to the Ports.

Source: Voice of Nigeria