SIFAX Group has lent its support to the use of barges for transporting containers out of seaports in Lagos where perennial gridlock traffic has nearly made it impossible for free cargo movement.
The Executive Director of SIFAX Off-dock, Captain Ibraheem Olugbade has however urged all stakeholders to embrace barge transportation, saying the challenges of congestion and traffic caused by bad access roads would drastically reduce if the credible alternative to road transportation like barge is encouraged by shipping lines and agents.
In a press statement issued by the Group, Olugbade said “Shipping lines and agents should be encouraged to key into the use of barges for transfer in view of the poor state of the port access road. Aggressive transfer of cargoes through barges to the various off docks in Lagos will help decongest the port in a great way and help the port reach its maximum potentials.”
He also urged the Nigerian Shippers Council and other relevant agencies to execute the policy of establishing inland container depots in various parts of the country with more vigor as this will provide a very important leeway for the decongestion of Nigerian ports.
“The idea of floating inland container depots or off docks in various parts of the country is a very good initiative by the government. Although it is yet to yield its desired result, there is a need to pursue its implementation with more commitment by all stakeholders. Off docks are still very much relevant in Nigeria’s maritime business model. They will always help to decongest the ports and bring about efficiency in port operations”.
Olugbade further noted that SIFAX Group’s belief in off-dock as a good port-decongestion strategy is responsible for the company’s massive investment in its current off-dock facilities and acquisition of new ones in various locations across Lagos. This, he said, would enable agents to experience easier clearing processes and faster consignment movement.
On the indiscriminate citing of off docks in Lagos, Olugbade urged relevant government agencies to strictly enforce the policies that guide the off-dock location in Lagos state, in order to avoid environmental hazards.