By Francis Ameyibor, GNA
Accra, April 11, GNA – The Cocoa sector continues to be a sensitive commodity to Ghana’s economy in 2016 and the country therefore has to increase its yields in the coming years to realise its full benefits in the export sector.
“As a result of the key impact of the cocoa sector on Ghana’s economy, the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) in collaboration with the Cocoa Marketing Company succeeded in obtaining a freeze on freight rates for the shipment of the country’s cocoa,” Dr Kofi Mbiah, GSA Chief Executive Officer told newsmen in Accra.
Speaking at the first in a series of media engagements tagged: “The Shipping Quarter and Outlook,” Dr Mbiah revealed that the total transit and transhipment for 2016 amounted to 900,763 metric tonnes.
The statistics indicate that transit and transhipment trade imports hit 861,299 metric tonnes whiles exports trade recorded 39,464 metric tonnes.
Transit and Transhipment trade recorded an impressive growth of 82 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 as compared to 2015, but recorded a decrease of 4.5 per cent in the second quarter; down again to 4.32 per cent in the third quarter and dropped further to 42.1 per cent to end the year.
Dr Mbiah noted that in spite of the volatility of transit and transhipment trade in 2016, transit volume for the three major landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger in the same period amounted to 801,336 metric tonnes which comprised 764,909 metric tonnes and 36,427 metric tonnes of export.
The GSA Chief Executive said the statistics represented 88.9 per cent of total transit and transhipment trade through Ghana’s transit corridor to the hinterlands- major transit trade commodities included Bagged Fertilizer, Processed Foods/Beverages and Cashew nuts.
On maritime trade outlook for 2017, Dr Mbiah revealed that maritime trade was likely to experience steady growth in trade volumes with boots in both imports of major commodities and exports of raw materials and semi-processed goods to the Chinese and European markets.
Ghana’s international trade volumes was expected to grow by 10 per cent this year, this Dr Mbiah attributed to the calm political environment after last year’s election and the peaceful transition processes, and renewed business confidence in the new government.
He also identified the Ghanaian economic activities and new policies and initiatives as other factors likely to impact positively to boost the agricultural, manufacturing and industrial sectors.
Dr Mbiah however noted that to achieve growth, players in the maritime sector; ‘need to accelerate the pace of reform in business processes, increase technological penetration in the clearance processes, reduce delays, cut down costs and make shipping more competitive.
“We must improve upon our profiling, utilisation of advance information, improvement in the non-intrusive inspection mechanism, our post audit and sanctions regimes”.
He said Government must also explore every effort to stabilise the cedi to ensure predictability and certainty for business.
Mr Fred Aseidu-Dartey, GSA Director of Public Affairs, explained that the authority would continue to ensure prudent management of the demand side of Ghana’s shipping industry with a view to protecting the interests of Ghanaian shippers in relation to port, ship and inland transportation.
He said the authority would also deal with other ancillary problems which sought to hinder operations in the maritime sector with a view to ensuring a quick, safe, reliable and cost effective delivery of cargo for the shippers in Ghana.
Mr Aseidu-Dartey said GSA would continue to work closely with other sectors of the industry in protecting and promoting the interests of Ghanaian shippers and ensure the provision of relevant logistics for the growth of shipping and trade in the country.
He said this year, the GSA would organise and hold seminars and workshops to educate and sensitise shippers, the business community and other relevant stakeholders in order to assist them improve on their knowledge and skills and adopt best business practices.
“We will also hold open fora in order to interact with importers, exporters and traders in their trading localities to learn of problems confronting them in their day-to-day business transactions,” he said.