The National Inl3and Waterways Authority, NIWA, has attributed the reluctances of shippers to move their cargoes by barges from Lagos to other ports in the Delta and Eastern parts of the country to lack of insurance cover for such trip.
Disclosing this in Lagos, Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, said shippers are reluctant because they are afraid of losing their cargo in the event the barges meet with an accident.
He also said that some shippers are complaining about the standard of barges used by some barge operators.
He stated: “These were issues raised by the importers themselves. They said they don’t want a situation whereby they would gamble with their goods after importing them all the way from China or Europe, and upon getting to Nigeria’s waterways the cargo sinks or get accidented.
“So we have reached an understanding with the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria that we want a reasonable insurance cover for every cargo that would go on the inland waterways and for the vessels themselves to be fully insured so that we can give protection to the importer.
“This is a prime project for us because we want to decongest our ports and ease pressure from the roads”
He pointed out that the agency is sensitising boat passengers and boat riders on the use of life jackets and obeying other safety regulations on waterways.
He further stressed that the authority is also making it compulsory for all barge operators to get quality insurance cover that would cover both the barges and the cargoes they arrive.