CEM REPORT | National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has expressed optimism that vessel fleet, including barges and tugs, would surpass 50,000 on Nigerian waterways in three years.
NIWA stated that this was part of its effort to enhance the distribution of cargo across the nation adding that the agency inspected and registered 332 barges and 264 tugs of different categories nationwide in 2021 and is projecting the movement of over two million containers on the nation’s inland waterways yearly by 2025.
This was disclosed by the agency’s Managing Director, George Moghalu while speaking at a virtual meeting organised by the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Wednesday.
Moghalu, who was represented at the meeting by NIWA’s General Manager, Marine, Joseph Ororo, also solicited the support of private sector operators to achieve its projection, explaining that research shows that maritime is a cheaper and more convenient transport mode than roads.
“The future looks very bright for inland waterway business and in the next three years, that is by the year 2025, we aim to achieve 2,000,000 containers moved on the inland waterways per annum, 500 daily trips of vessel traffic to and from the ports, eight million metric tonnes of cargoes conveyed on the inland waterways per annum and employment of two million personnel in this sector,”
The agency however added that it will continue to provide the requisite infrastructure for maritime to play its crucial role in developing the nation’s economy despite low activity from most certified seafarers resulting to unutilised vessels.
The President of BOAN, Olubunmi Olumekun speaking at the event, retaliated the need to secure Nigeria’s maritime domain, noting that barge operations would thrive in a more secured environment.
He also lamented the high cost of barge operations in Nigeria and the dominance of foreign players, stating that most crane operators for barges are Indians.