The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) handled a total of 21million metric tonnes of cargo last year, exceeding its set target of 20million metric tonnes.
The figure represents a 2million metric tonnes increase over the 19million metric tonnes recorded in 2016.
Figures from the ports authority show this gross of cargo was carted by the 1,850 vessels that called at the Tema and Takoradi ports within the same period—which also showed a slight increase over the 1,830 vessel calls that were recorded in 2016.
Although the number of vessel calls fell short of the GPHA’s target of 1,900, the authority explains that most of the vessels that berthed at the country’s ports were larger vessels with huge loads of imports.
“Last year was successful in spite of the challenges, Director-General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, told journalists in Tema.
“Looking at our performance, we can confidently say that it was better than last year in terms of vessel calls, operations and cargo throughput and even our financials.”
The GPHA boss indicated that prospects for the country’s sea trade sector remains bright, describing 2018 as “a year of action”.
He noted: “We are positioning ourselves to be able to accommodate even growth up to the next 50 years both in the Tema and Takoradi ports.
The port remains the hub of economic development; it is the nerve centre of every economy. When the sector grows, it translates to all facets of the economy and vice versa.”
To help maximise the economic gains of the maritime sector, Mr. Ansah said his outfit will be very particular about export diversification this year.
This, he said, will be achieved through strong collaboration with stakeholders in the exports chain specifically the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority, the Ghana EXIM Bank, the Ghana Shippers Authority as well as the Ghana Free Zones Board and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce.
“If you look at the structure of the economy, imports constitute about 65-70 percent of trade, and any country that has trade imbalance or deficit is bound to face difficulties.
To accelerate the growth of exports, we will forge closer collaboration with the various export-based institutions to develop a common strategy that can be implemented to help diversify the economy.”
Mr. Ansah further indicated that by year-end, most of GPHA’s processes and procedures will be fully automated to make the port community friendlier to businesses.
“We intend to complete automate the processes of vessel and cargo handling as well as operational and management function by the end of this year to make the port community more conducive for business.”