By Innocent Orok
Nigerian ports may witnessed the worst port congestion ever in the country as the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali has ordered the ban on the use of barges to evacuate containers and other cargoes to and from the ports.
Just yesterday , the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu has boosted that he gave himself a year target to make sure heavy duties and containers are moved through the waterways on barges to save our roads, which are not mostly constructed to carry heavy duty vehicles.
Before now, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in its bid to decongest the ports have encourage owners of Containers to use barges to evacuate their cargoes from the ports due to the traffic gridlock at the Lagos ports.
Also the PTML command of the Customs located at the Tincan Island port complex have been moving their cargoes from Tincan Island to its Mile two terminal through barges.
But all of these will be now in the past as the Customs Comptroller General has banned barges movement from the ports with immediate effect.
This was contained in a memo dated ETI/ 2020/circular. No 12 addressed to all DCGs, ACGs, Area Controllers and Units heads titled ” Use of Barges for Evacuation of Containers into and out of the Ports”.
The circular was issued on the 12th of March 2020.
It reads “The CGC is in receipt of intelligence that the use of barges to evacuate containers in and out of our ports is being abused to the extent that containers are being diverted to illegal warehouses.
” Consequently, I am directed to inform you that the use of barges to evacuate containers should stop with immediate effect.
“This is for immediate compliance please”
The circular was signed by Deputy Comptroller General , Austin Chidi ( DIG, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation).
Many port stakeholders are already condemning the customs boss action, as according to them it will worsened the present congestion situation in Nigeria ports.