Shippers in Agona Swedru in the Central Region and its environs have been sensitised on the mandate and services of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) in line with government’s goal to protect and promote the interests of shippers in Ghana’s commercial shipping sector in relation to international trade and transport.
This, forms part of GSA’s planned programme for the year, to educate and sensitised stakeholders as well as equip the Ghanaian shipper on shipping best practices at the port. The programme, organised by the GSA, was in conjunction with the Business Resource Center (BRC) at Agona Swedru, which is the first of its kind for exporters and importers in the area.
Kwame Agyei, Head of Swedru BRC, with oversight responsibility at the Gomoa East and West and Agona West Districts in the Central Region, gave a brief education on the work of the BRC.
He mentioned that the BRC has been established as part of the Industrial Transformation Agenda of the government and spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), to provide institutional support to assist the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to grow and improve their competitiveness.
He gave the core services of the BRC to be Business Opportunity Identification or Business Concept Validation, Business Plan Preparation, Facilitation of Access to Credit and Finance, Project Start Up Support, Business Health Check and Diagnostics, Business Counselling and Mentorship, Consultancy and Advisory Services, Training (Entrepreneurship and Management), Agency Representation Services and Regulatory Services.
Charles Darling Asiedu Sey, Branch Manager of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), who has oversight responsibility in the Western, Western North and Central Regions, outlined the mandate and services of the Authority, such as import and export procedures, as well as challenges of the Ghanaian shipper.
He pointed out that the Authority, is a state agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport established in 1974 by NRCD 254. “It undertakes advocacy for shippers in Ghana, in relation to port, ship and inland transport ultimately to ensure safe, reliable, seamless and cost-effective delivery of cargo,” he said.
Also, Mr. Sey educated the participants on the services of the authority and mentioned some of the services to shippers as education, sensitization programmes, negotiating port charges on behalf of shippers, conducting research on emerging issues, establishing platforms for mutual consultation between the Authority and shipping service providers, providing timely interventions in shipment challenges confronting importers and exporters.
“Again, we facilitate and promote trade along Ghana’s transit corridor and arrange for legal assistance for shippers with legitimate maritime claims and arbitration services on legitimate shipping and trade disputes,” he said.
He added that the Authority also provides relevant information as a contribution to the formulation of policies on Ghana’s transport sector, undertakes infrastructural projects to augment existing shipping and logistical infrastructure in the country and represents shippers’ interest in local and international shipping and trade related fora and organisations.
According to him, it is important for shippers to Register with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority and then look for an agent who will mediate between you and customs. He added that but for cocoa beans and hydrocarbon oil, all other commoditise bound for export attract no duty.