Cargo traffic tipped to grow by 10% in 2018

CEO of the GSA, Madam Benonita Bismarck

Cargo traffic to the country’s two seaports has been tipped to continue along the present steady growth line, with an expected surge of 10 percent by year-end according to projections by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA).

The projections, the authority said, are based on the positive trend of the country’s seaborne trade over the last decade, which has seen traffic rise from 15.1 million metric tonnes in 2014 to 21.5 million metric tonnes last year.

Specifically, growth was recorded in all the trade areas of import, export and transit, which saw 17.5 percent, 10.9 percent and 24.6 percent surges respectively in 2016 figures.

“If this trend is anything to go by, and without any major global economic disruptions, we should expect at least 10 percent growth in cargo throughput – especially for exports,” GSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Benonita Bismarck, told journalists at a Shipping Quarter and Outlook event in Accra.

She added: “It is instructive to note that the high rate of growth volume in 2017 was on the back of good performances in the third and fourth quarters of the year, when ambitious trade facilitation programmes – including the paperless system of goods clearance – were rolled out”.

According to the GSA boss, the ongoing reforms at the ports will help reduce the cost of doing business while improving government revenue. He, however, urged sustained deliberations among stakeholders for the success of such interventions.

“We need to improve upon the systems and processes to have them integrated with an effective coordination unit; risk management is the way to go in the clearance process, and all must work till we achieve optimum performance.

“The outlook for the next quarter and beyond is bright, but we must continue to improve the dialogue among stakeholders so we can have a better narrative of a thriving shipping sector that supports the country’s international trade competitiveness.”

She said her outfit will continue to sensitise shippers on the need to reduce avenues for demurrage payment, which she said is an avoidable cost.

The Shipping Quarterly and Outlook event is an initiative of the GSA, aimed at offering an industry-wide platform for engaging the media on “timely, authentic and accurate information” pertaining to the sea-trade industry.

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