The Maritime and Dockworkers’ Union (MDU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has advised government to find a strategic investor for the Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC), a subsidiary of the Volta River Authority (VRA), to save the company from collapse.
The MDU is also asking government to put in a place permanent management that would be empowered to take major decisions to revamp the company.
According to the union, the absence of permanent management for VLTC has contributed to the adoption of ad hoc measures that have failed to address perennial problems of the company.
“The MDU recognises that VLTC is a company with the potential to provide economic and social benefits that would make a substantial contribution to national development.
“The union is worried that despite the potential of VLTC, operational and financial problems have prevented the company from realising its potential – thus creating social and economic problems for the workers and company,” said a resolution signed by the union’s General-Secretary, Daniel Owusu-Koranteng.
Power producer Volta River Authority last year announced that it has begun processes to strip itself of various non-core subsidiary businesses, citing the VLTC as one of the companies it is seeking private capital for.
The off-loading of its non-core businesses will expectedly lead to a reduction in cost of production and ultimately end-user tariffs, as VRA will be more efficient and produce power at a cheaper cost.
According to the MDU, the Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC) – which operates water-borne transport with a fleet of 19 passenger vessels, cargo ships and barges – has been reeling under financial and operational constraints in recent years.
The union is particularly worried about the seeming neglect of the VLTC in discussions and decisions regarding construction of the railway terminal in Akosombo, which it opined could breathe life into the company.
The statement indicated that: “The MDU expresses the opinion that if VLTC is excluded from management and control of the railway terminal that is to be constructed in Akosombo, it will sound the death-knell of VLTC.
“We take the view that construction of a Railway Terminal at the Akosombo Port would help the company take advantage of commercial benefits from the Tema-Akosombo railway line.”
The Volta Lake Transport Company was incorporated in 1970 to operate river transportation for passengers, bulk haulage of petroleum products and significant quantities of cement, and cross-lake ferry services on the Volta Lake.
The company has a mission to promote development of the Volta River Basin through the provision of an economical, reliable and efficient multi-modal transportation chain and ferry services, using lake transportation as the main link to ensure financial viability for the company.