Barge operators express fear of extinction, say they now operate at 20 percent.

Barge operators express fear of extinction, say they now operate at 20 percent


… association exists only in nomenclature, no unity among members

Operators of barges in Nigeria have lamented lull in business activities in the first quarter of year 2023 saying with the outlook, the business may go into extinction anytime soon

Happy Diamond Age

Haruna Omolajomo, General Manager, Joatelim Logistics Limited, stated this in a chat with our correspondent, yesterday.

According to him, inconsistent government policies, stifling policies of some terminal operators, improvement on the roads, are some of the factors that dwindle the fortune of the business.

Omolajomo, who doubles as Chairman, Membership Committee of Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN), maintained that most of the operators who rented barges have since returned them even as some of the barges are at jetties for lack of activities.

His words, “If one considers what is going on in barge operations for now, because of the lull in business we are having in all businesses all over the place, it also affected barge operations

“For now, I can tell you authoritatively that they are operating less than 20 percent of the total operation that are supposed to do in terms of 100 percent because of donay factors

“This is because of the election, low volume of cargo coming into the country basically because of the cashless policy, it really affected the business

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“In addition to that, the modus operandi of some terminal operators and shipping companies also affected the barge operation. I also want to say that the improvement on the roads is another factor that affected the business. So, everything is down below expectation.

“Barge operators are crying inwardly and some of those who rented barges and tug boats have returned them. You will find most of the barges at the jetties instead of working. So, is not a good time for barge operators.

“The problem we are having is the Nigerian factor and it is always a case of the winner takes all. Not that we don’t have enough containers to go round the bonded terminals but a singular terminal operator decided to take everything that is supposed to be shared to all areas. So it is not only barge operations that may likely go into extinction, if conscious policy is not put in place, the rail too will suffer it.”

Asked what the association is doing to help the situation, he quipped that the body lacks unity.

He added that BOAN is just an association by nomenclature that the members do not come together to have a common front against any problem in the subsector.

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“The association too has its own problem. They believe that can solve their problems individually . They are punching themselves and the terminal operators too have a way of trying to hammer them by the way they do things.

“The splinter group is not much but the association is just there by name, when it is time for them to come together to fight a common goal, you will see everybody going their different ways. So, it is a case of to your tent O Israel.”

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