The country’s two seaports handled a combined cargo traffic of over 23million metric tonnes last year, representing an 8 percent increase over the 21 million metric tonnes recorded in 2017, the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has said.
The Port of Tema handled 15.50 million metric tonnes of the total traffic, representing 67 percent of the total seaborne trade, while the Port of Takoradi recorded 7.62 million metric tonnes, representing 33% of the total seaborne trade.
Transit/transshipment imports amounted to 1,043,039 metric tonnes, while transit/transshipment exports stood at 89,629 metric tonnes.
Total export trade volume for the same review period was 7.66 million metric tonnes, which was a 24.6% growth and comprised 2.01 million metric tonnes of liner items, 344,174 metric tonnes of break bulk items, 5.15 million metric tonnes of dry bulk and 164,048 metric tonnes of liquid bulk.
Transit volume from the three landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger however saw a 3.2 percent decline, with a total of 996,969 metric tonnes in the year under review. This comprised imports of 879,935 metric tonnes and exports of 87,034 metric tonnes for 2018.
Chief Executive Officer of GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismarck, who gave out the figures at the first Shipping Quarter and Outlook for the year said: “The year 2018 posted an appreciable growth in seaborne trade, reflecting the confidence in Ghana’s economy.
“Consequently, we wish to project an overall cargo throughput growth of 10% for the year 2019. This is also premised on the expectation that introduction of the First-Port Rule for the transit trade will be well-managed in order not to deflect transit cargo to neighboring ports.”
The impressive growth in exports is expected to continue into 2019. Ghana’s cargo throughput for the year 2019 is thus projected to increase by about 10 percent.
She added: “It is important to note that while imports experienced a low growth of 1.2% in 2018, exports on the other hand grew by 24%. Prospects for continued growth in the export sector are very bright in the wake of government’s aggressive industrial policy”.
Even though cargo throughput for 2018 posted a growth of about 8%, there was a slowing trend in the third and fourth quarters of 2018.
This, according to the GSA boss, was attributable to uncertainty that surrounded introduction of new policies at the ports, including the Cargo Tracking Note and others.
“It is expected that while these policies mature and stabilise, no new ones will be introduced in the short-term,” she recommended.
Container demurrage payments at the Ports of Tema and Takoradi reduced from US$76million in 2017 to US$59million in 2018.
However, general storage rent payments at the Ports of Tema and Takoradi increased from GH¢48.1million in 2017 to GH¢49.9million in 2018.
Ms. Bismarck said her outfit will continue to seek collaboration with other stakeholders to continue playing their respective roles to ensure facilitated trade for the shippers.
“Shipper education will continue to remain a focal point of our activities, and we will endeavour to educate shippers on the dos and don’ts of the clearance process and the need for shippers to begin their documentation processes for cargo clearance prior to arrival of their cargo so as to reduce demurrage and rent payments,” she noted.
ShippersApp launched to offer real-time information to shippers
The GSA has launched its mobile application ‘ShippersApp’ to serve as a one-stop-shop for shipping information for the shipping communities.
Users of the app will have quick access to the negotiated charges of shipping service providers, such as the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), freight forwarders etc.
Contacts and location of shipping agents, freight forwarders, Customs house agents, government agencies and other shipping service providers are captured on the app for enquiries and lodging complaints with respect to shipments.
Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) of vessels, and vessels in port, maritime trade statistics, notices to shippers, industry news are all available on the app. The ShippersApp can be downloaded from App Store and Google Store.
Ms. Bismarck said of the app: “One key function of the Authority is the provision and dissemination of timely, reliable and relevant shipping information to shippers and the shipping industry in Ghana.
“To further the Authority’s aim of bringing its services to the doorstep of shippers, and to ensure convenience to them wherever they may be across the country, shippers can now access our services via a mobile application known as the ‘ShippersApp’.”