Daniel Eze of the BOAN left and Temidayo Adeboye of the TTP limited right.
Story by Dili Utomi.
There seems to be a palpable atmosphere of discontent between the Truck Transit Parks Limited, the managers of the Nigerian Ports Authority’s ETO application which is in place to manage the heavy traffic in and around the two major Ports in Lagos and the members of the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN), who by the nature of their services are providing other means of conveying cargoes from and into the Ports to ease the difficulty in transporting cargoes and also removing a large part of the heavy reliance on road transport.
The crux of the matter stems from a statement credited to the managing director of the TTP Limited, Mr. Temidayo Adeboye by an online news platform as he was quoted to have said that over 60% of all barges in operation on our waters are substandard.
Daniel Eze, PRO of the BOAN.
In an exclusive interview with the public relations officer of the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN), Mr. Daniel Eze, he noted that “Mr. Adeboye is entitled to his opinion as a human being, but that he is speaking from the angle of one not ‘knowing’, that is one without the requisite knowledge of what he or she is talking about. One has to know what barge operation is all about before talking and I will have to start by giving a brief synopsis of barge operation”.
Mr. Eze explained that “For a barge to be found in the Nigerian waterways, it must have been assessed and granted the necessary approval to operate by all the regulators, the waterways regulators and the watercraft (barge) regulators and it then means that the standard must have been met, so for Mr. Adeboye to sit in his office and proclaim that over 60% of our barges are substandard goes to show his level of understanding”.
Mr. Eze defined a barge as a type of flat topped and flat bottomed raft or vessel primarily used to convey cargoes, they are not independent or self propelled vessels, they are generally towed by tug boats or pushed by other self propelled vessels in other to perform their functions. He then went on to ask the rhetorical question of what really Mr. Adeboye is talking about, is it the barge itself or the tug boats and the other vessels pushing the barges? His statement should have been clarified, since barges do not move on their own. Barges are usually used in small lakes and canals, but are now extensively used around the Ports. Barges have been used in Europe before the Industrial Revolution to convey agricultural products into the hinterlands, the present traffic lock jam has made the use of barges very essential. Barges take off the pressure from the roads and contributes immensely to the economic activities of the country. They have even made the discharge of cargoes from the ships easier as cargoes are now more easily moved away from the ports, thereby increasing the economic activities around the ports and providing multimodal means of cargo evacuation and delivery.
On the activities of the regulators Mr. Eze said that they are in harmonious relationship with the regulators, he commends the Nigerian Ports Authority as he said that “They were the initiators of barge operation for conveying cargoes from the Lagos Ports to other parts of the country”. He said that there is no investor who will put his money where the risk is very high, he noted that there are different barges of 1,000, 1,200 and 1,500 tonnes and the least cost of these is over Eighty Million (#80,000,000.00) naira in worth, this is the cost of the barge alone aside the cost of the tugging or pushing vessel. They are also usually at least 12 by 42 metres in size and these specifications are well detailed for approval by the various approving agencies. “It will not make much sense for you to invest such huge amount on any substandard equipment because of the risk involved moreso, an importer will not risk his cargo on a substandard vessel because of the huge investment he or she may have made in importing the goods into the country and so we do always have to make statements from the points of understanding”.
Now generally, in talking about barges, Mr. Eze stated that we have different types, like the barrack barge which is called the house boat and this is used in some parts of the South East Asia like Cambodia, north India, Australia and Canada and as the name suggests it is an eye catching vessel used for residential purposes as a stationary object in a river. Then you also have the dry cargo hauling barge and as the name suggests, you use this type of barge to convey dry cargoes like food grains, steel, sand and so on and so forth. There is also the barges carrying liquid cargoes like petroleum products and industrial liquids etc. There are car float marine barges and the split hoffer barges which are used to carry dredged materials, there are others like the power barges and the royal barges used for carnivals and fun events.
In Nigeria, he said “The kind of barge that we have adopted for the purpose of our operations is the dry cargo barge, these are as usual being towed, tugged or pushed by another boat or other forms of mechanism in order to move the cargoes from one point to the other and these barges are certified and approved to move through the waterways by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for operation. I have never met the Chief Operating Officer of the TTP limited, but I do appreciate the innovation that they have brought out, that is the ETO application platform for traffic control, but I also do think that they should concentrate more on their efforts to decongest the roads as his statement is not factual and cannot be justified”. He concluded.
Temidayo Adeboye, Chief Operating Officer of the TTP limited.
The greatalternativenetwork.com.ng also sought some clarification on the side of the Truck Transit Parks Limited and we spoke with the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Temidayo Adeboye who threw more light on the said publication. When asked if he made the statement, Mr. Adeboye said that indeed that was his statement, but that it was misunderstood. He explained that “About 60% of the containers that we see stacked at the quayside at out Ports are empty containers meant to leave the shores of the country and the rest are probably imports and exports cargoes. He said that the quayside should be left free of all these containers and should be kept at the various terminals where they can be moved through barges into the ships which are preparing to set sail, but that because over 60% of our barges lack the standard mooring and fendering equipment, they cannot be allowed by these foreign ships to transfer these empty containers into their ships. This implies that these ships in most cases have to wait for the empty containers to be cleared before moving into the quayside to have their cargoes discharged. He added that “My take is that if the approved barges have the standard mooring and fendering equipment, the barges should be able to move close to the vessels on the water to the ship side away from the quayside and get the cargoes discharged and taken into the Ports or designated terminals, this will further decongest the Ports. The Captain of the ships will never allow any of our barges near their ships as a result of the substandard nature of our barges because of issues of insurance and probable damages”. When asked whose fault it is that these barges do not meet with that standard, Mr. Adeboye said that “It is not anybody’s fault, that the kind of barge operation that we do in Nigeria is that type where cargoes are dropped at quayside and then moved away by barges, but I am suggesting that we move to having standard barges that will go to the shipside away from the quayside and get all the cargoes therein, ship to ship transfered, discharged”. He says that “The barges that we have now do meet the standard of our operation as approved by the Authorities, but that we have to move up to a higher standard which is the type that I have suggested”. He said that the ship to ship transfer is the most efficient way of moving empty containers away and into the ships, but that we cannot achieve that now as it presently exists because of the inadequacy of the barges.
A school of thought has it that these two entities are at daggers drawn because one thinks that the other is trying to take away its businesses, but whatever it is, the business of moving cargoes in and out of the Ports will be better for it if common grounds are sought rather than resorting to war of words.
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