Stakeholders deliberate on safer transit corridors

The Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), in collaboration with other stakeholder agencies in the maritime logistics sector, has organised a sensitisation workshop for haulage truck drivers as part of efforts to reduce the high rate of road accidents along the country’s transit routes.

The one-day workshop educated haulage truck drivers and owners —who play a critical role in the trade facilitation value chain—on appropriate and acceptable conduct along the transit corridors.

Officials from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Ghana Police Service (GPS) and Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) took participants through road safety and major traffic laws, drunk-driving and its implications, and the relevance of axle-load implementation in the country.

The broader objective was to tackle the increasing number of accidents on the country’s transit routes, which have led to the loss of lives and property, while ensuring strict compliance to laid-down rules and regulations that facilitate efficient haulage systems.

General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Esther Gyebi-Donkor, stressed the need for joint efforts to encourage more transit through the country’s ports.

She said: “Given that the country’s ports are in competition with the ports of Lome, Abidjan, Dakar and Cotonou, the alarming rate of accidents on transit corridors could render the routes uncompetitive for business -and obviously affect the port choice decisions of transit shippers.

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“In the absence of a running rail network and the fact that road transport remains the largest mode of transportation in the country, the role of haulage truckers in achieving the overall goals of international trade and logistics value chain cannot be over-emphasised.”

She added: “It is the efficient and effective performance of their role that will help deliver the needed benefits for the trade, hence the need to share ideas on the key issues that affect those operations on the corridors”.

Haulage truck drivers move thousands of tonnes of international trade cargo along the transit corridors to distant destinations in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, making them key actors in the transport and logistics value chain.

They carted a total of 1,249,336 metric tonnes of transit cargo through the Tema and Takoradi Ports to the country’s transit trade partners in 2017 alone.

To the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, the relevance of haulage truckers in the international trade setup cannot be downplayed.

“As critical stakeholders in the transport logistics chain, no effort should be spared in ensuring that they are regularly sensitised and fully equipped on the international conventions and regional/national regulations that relate to their operations so as to engender compliance,” indicatedBenonita Bismarck, CEO of the GSA.

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According to her, the ongoing works at the country’s ports, the planned development of the Boankra Inland Port, as well as activities of the National Trade and Transit Facilitation Committee, bear testimony to government’s commitment toward enhancing the growth of transit trade along its corridors.

She added: “If Ghana is to attain its position as the preferred transit country and become the gateway to the West African sub-region, then we must find the solutions to the plethora of challenges affecting growth of the transit trade”.

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