The president of the Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA), Godwin Onyekazi, has blamed the barging company, Conmect Rail Services Limited (CRSL) for overlooking the aspect of proper documentation with the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) before embarking on a ceremonial flag-off ceremony.
Recall that LEADERSHIP reported on Monday that the barge, conveying its first export cargo of manganese had not arrived the Lagos Port complex, Apapa, ten days after it reportedly sailed from Ikorodu Lighter Terminal. The journey from Ikorodu to Apapa, both in Lagos, by barge is usually not more that six hours.
But, checks at the offices of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Marina, Lagos and at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa on Wednesday revealed that the barge has still not left Ikorodu for Apapa. According to the president of NIIA, “All documentations should have been done before flag off. I support the idea of barging to take pressure off the congested roads. I hope the barge operators have learnt their lessons and will correct all mistakes in the future.”
However, it was discovered that the delay may not be unconnected with poor documentation and shoddy preparation from the company. It was gathered that the letter authorizing the discharge of the barge was transmitted to the port manager of LPC Apapa only on Thursday last week.
“The port manager’s office in Apapa is expected to convey the approval to the relevant terminal by weekend to allow the barge in. “Hopefully, the barge should berth and discharge before weekend,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said. Chief executive officer of Connect Rail Services Limited (CRSL) – operator of the barge – Edeme Kelikume, did not explain reasons for the delays in the operation of the barge.
Managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, had on February 8, flagged off the barge operation. At the highly- publicised flag off ceremony, Usman said the movement of the solid mineral would bring “huge economic advantage” to the country and that using barges to ferry containers of solid mineral across the waters to Apapa ports would take pressure off the roads.
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