The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has asked players in the freight forward sector to strive to harmonise and standardise shipping line charges, negotiate for minimum service standards, as well as strong regulatory framework for enforcement and compliance.
According to him, that would ensure non-proliferation of charges at the ports, arbitrary increases of charges and ensure service quality and value for money.
Speaking at the 25th Annual General Meeting of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders at Koforidua in the Eastern Region last Friday, he said: “To ensure a competitive business environment, we need to harmonise and standardise shipping line charges, negotiate for minimum service standards and more importantly, build a strong regulatory framework for enforcement and compliance. This will ensure non-proliferation of charges at the ports, arbitrary increases of charges and ensure service quality and value for money.”
He also encouraged freight forwarders to leverage on technology and build capacity and partnerships across the global supply value chain, which could provide a competitive advantage in the service provision that members were abreast with in the industry.
Government, he said, had embarked on a sustained programme to improve upon the transport infrastructure through road network rehabilitation and expansion, railways rehabilitation and re-development, as well as expansion and modernisation of our various ports.
“At the moment, expansion works at the Tema Port to increase its capacity to handle increasing volumes of traffic has been completed. At the Takoradi Port, the development of the first phase of the On-dock Multi-purpose Terminal has also been completed.
“The transit corridors have been freed from most of the inspection barriers which hitherto caused unnecessary delays and increased the cost of transportation to landlocked countries. The Paperless Port System introduced in 2017 has resulted in improvement in the efficiency of our ports through reduction in cargo clearance time, revenue optimisation and business friendly environment,” he said.
In the aviation sector, the minister said the government was upgrading the Kumasi and Tamale airports into an international status.
At the same time, he said it was also establishing a national airline with a private strategic partner to support our vision of positioning Ghana as an Aviation Hub for West Africa and beyond.
“I have no doubt that with these interventions, the industry would take advantage of the opportunities that abound in order to grow and remain competitive,” he said
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to boost intra-African trade and promote industrialisation, presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and for Mr Asiamah, government was determined to invest in logistics infrastructure to support the growing continental market. This includes ports, roads and railway system development, as well as warehousing improvements, particularly with the emergence of new trade routes.
“Freight operations along the Volta Lake could be enhanced with the completion of the Mpakadan railway line. However, it will require a structured freight market in terms of volumes and targeted commodity trade to have greater impact. An example is the transit of dry bulk and liquid bulk products destined for Northern Ghana and beyond.
Once again, I wish to take this opportunity to encourage you to take full advantage of the facilities being put in place to grow and expand your businesses, particularly on the continent,” he said.
He also called for a sustainable shipping in the industry, citing interventions from government through environmentally friendly ports, promoting regulations for green shipping through technology and renewable energy along the shipping value chain.
“Therefore, ensuring green logistics operations across the logistics value chain is a strategy that we must all pursue in our various capacities.”