By Oluwafunke Ishola
The Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) says it has partnered with the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to harmonise waterways transportation and seaports decongestion.
Mr Edeme Kelikume, President of BOAN, made this known at a news conference and inauguration of the Barge Operations Management Committee, comprising members of both organisations in Lagos.
Kelikume said that the partnership was necessary to ensure discipline and better management of barge activities on the waterways.
He said BOAN was focussing on three elements that encapsulate the operational activities of barge operations, including manpower, infrastructure and waterway channels and equipment.
“We have been working tirelessly to put in place all that it takes to achieve maximum operational activities within our waters.
“We are training our men, while we secure the partnership of insurance companies to mitigate risks; we ensure safety and boost confidence,” he said.
Kelikume reiterated the need for cooperation between operators and the regulatory authorities.
He said that BOAN was working with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA); Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).
The president said with collaboration among BOAN, MWUN and other regulatory agencies, there would be better coordination of movement of crafts and other third parties plying the waterways.
Kelikume said that the association would hold its first annual conference on Aug. 24 at Ikeja, and use the platform to propose more solutions for port operation and efficiency.
He appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that relevant agencies like NIWA, NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and be more involved in clearing the wrecks from the waterways.
“We need to have the right navigational aids. Security is very key; with the Navy and Marine Police, we can have a secured waterway,” the president said.
Also, Mr Ernest Udeze, the Public Relations Officer of BOAN, said the association was working on a mobile software to ease engagement and communication on the waterways.
Udeze said that with the software, barges could be tracked real-time as they leave the jetties.
He added that it presents an opportunity to build a strong data base for the industry, thus improving insight, and enhance swift decision making and projections.
Earlier, the President-General of MWUN, Mr Adewale Adeyanju, said the partnership among the organisations would assist to become formidable in reaching its goals.
Adeyanju said that the synergy would strengthen their interface with the government and regulatory bodies.
He, also said the partnership would transcend beyond Lagos, adding that MWUN had engaged stakeholders across the country.
Adeyanju pledged the commitment of MWUN to support BOAN toward accomplishing the desired goals and objectives. (NAN) (nannews.ng)