The Managing Director of Gani-Tarzan Marine Enterprises Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ganiyu Sekoni Balogun has declared his willingness to assist in evacuation of cargoes from the Apapa and Tincan ports in Lagos with his barges if called upon to do so by importers and their agents.
Balogun who made this disclosure in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos however said that his barges could only carry cargoes that were duly released and existed from the ports by the releasing authorities and all documents regarding the cargoes intact to avoid seizure of his barges for carriage of illegally released goods.
According to him,” In time to come, I have plans, even if it is only one container that that my barge can carry, if any company calls me, I will make available my barge as long as such company has its papers complete. That means, it is not an illegal cargo that I am going to carry, that means, the Navy should know about it, government should know about what you are carrying. Not the one that my barge will be carrying your cargo, then Navy comes and seizes the boat. So, all the due diligence, all the procedures must be followed.
“It will reduce a lot of trucks on the road by using the waterways but at the same time, there are place the barges can reach and there are places they cannot reach. That is where the government comes in. The government needs to set up an infrastructure committee to fashion out where they are supposed to be and those that know the water well need to be invited in the committee”.
He informed that he would have ventured into evacuation of cargoes with his barges but was drawn back a little bit by the activities of the civil servants who had been frustrating his business.
“I wanted to construct another barge that will take a minimum of twenty-one cars and maximum of thirty cars which equally can carry about ten containers but the one I have, I was having problems.
“What I need these people to know is that if I build a barge, I can’t drive it myself. I need a Captain, I need an engineer, and I need a minimum of two deck hands; that is four people. Now, it depends on how large the barge is and I am going to manufacture it myself. While I am doing it, I am teaching some boys who are around me. I have done it before and I can do it again”, he said.
Balogun who is also the President, Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transport of Nigeria (ATBOWATN) added that a lot of other boat operators were thinking in that direction even as he stated that the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) through the Area Manager, Lagos had encouraged members of the association to start thinking of how they could assist by bringing in barges to evacuate containers out of the ports because the road was so bad.
He continued,” But those of us who are thinking towards that area before were scared of what will happen if the Area Manager leaves, that is talking about continuity of policy. It is very important or else, investor will be running away”.
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