Dr. Richard Anamoo, Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), has indicated Ghana’s readiness to comply with the July 1, 2016, International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) obligation of verification of container weight.
The IMO legal binding requirement is expected to see an exporter obtaining accurate gross weight of packed container so that vessels and terminal operators can prepare vessel stowage plans prior to loading cargo ships.
That way, over 10,000 containers that are lost at sea yearly due to inaccurate gross weight of packed containers on vessels will minimize.
The IMO requirement, consequently, intends to protect personnel, vessels and assets of terminal operators, as well as shippers’ cargo.
By the IMO requirement, the shipper, shipping line and terminal operator will have to ensure that the weight of a packed container has been verified by a competent authority before loading the vessels.
The GPHA Director disclosed Ghana’s readiness to comply with the IMO sea safety requirement when he welcomed participants at the 15th Intermodal Africa 2016 Exhibition and Conference Accra yesterday.
This is the second time Ghana is hosting its partners in the maritime industry from the continent, and mentioning some of the massive improvements the Ghana Ports have seen over the years, Dr. Anamoo, nonetheless, mentioned maritime security threat and the high cost of services to landlocked countries as some serious challenges the maritime industry is faced with.
He hoped that the two-day conference would afford the 19 participating countries the technical opportunities to find lasting solutions to the challenges the maritime industry in Africa is faced with.
Franklin Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, Minister for Transport, in his opening address, explained that maritime transport is a vehicle for the growth of world trade, industrial and commercial inter-connections in the world economy.
Indicating how the maritime transport alone moves about 80 percent of world cargo trade, the sector Minister said “inter-modalism has therefore come to improve the efficiency of the entire distribution process by integrating the various modes of transport infrastructure and services.”
He lamented that currently, Africa trails behind other regions in infrastructure, logistics, efficient transport modes and their linkages in inter-and-intra-regional trade.
“This deficiency suppresses growth of inter-modal freight transport and its associated socio-economic benefits that countries are to derive,” he said.
He was, however, hopeful , employment creation, which is particularly a challenge for developing countries especially in Africa, can be potentially boosted by inter-modal transport activities, especially when there is adequate provision of port infrastructure, roads and railways, as well as inland waterways, to facilitate intermodal freight transport.
Fiifi Kwetey said, “We cannot tap the full benefits of ports and shipping without promoting intermodal transport. We need to secure modern and appropriate logistics, build strategic partnerships and the capacity of the human resource base of the industry and adapt best practices such as port automation and develop appropriate and relevant policies for the industry.”
He was happy to announce that the GPHA has entered into a concessionary agreement with a private consortium to expand the Port of Tema to more than three times its current capacity, with the first phase of the project seeing the construction of four container terminals and the expansion of the Tema motorway into six lanes at a cost of US$1.5 billion.
The project, which is expected to be completed in 2018, he said, would be one of the biggest port expansion projects in West Africa.
Concluding, Franklin Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey said: “About €350 million is being invested in the Takoradi Port to expand the facilities there to meet the dynamics of the maritime trade, especially the exploration and exploitation of the new oil and gas industry.”