The Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG) has said it expects a positive business outlook for the year 2019, with the coming onstream of the new Terminal 3 at Tema Port in June expected to drive up gains from the sector.
Speaking at a cocktail event to engage key stakeholders of the maritime and shipping industry to review the year 2018 – and also discuss prospects for 2019, President of the association Robert Oram said macro-economic conditions in Ghana look positive, with rising GDP and falling inflation.
“I think when we look at the macro-economic conditions here in Ghana, they look positive. GDP is growing, inflation is coming down; so it should be a positive year with a new port opening, and that should all point to positive developments for the shipping industry in Ghana.”
The members of SOAAG however urged government to put in place measures to arrest the cedi-dollar disparities.
“I’m sure the main policy everyone is interested in at the moment is how government will arrest the cedi’s slide: obviously, it has a very big impact on particularly import business, so I think that would be the key issue for many in the shipping industry. What will happen to the currency has a big impact on their business.”
SOAAG described the year 2018 in the shipping industry as a good one, with the increase of cargo throughput.
“The only way we can bring others onboard is to have an open hand and open heart, and encourage everyone to put their business in a conducive and open environment.
“Most importantly, let’s share best practices – because I know all of you here have a lot to give to each other,” advised Mr. Ayarna Imoro, Vice-President of SOAAG.
Industry players present at the cocktail pledged their commitment to ensuring that the port and maritime industry don’t suffer setbacks in the future.
“This year, the Shippers Authority is looking to doing something on UCL because it’s a problem that affects the industry; and I know that SOAAG, freight forwarders and all of us will come on board because we know that if we can halt this trend it goes to make our ports even more efficient,” remarked Monica Josiah, Tema Branch Manager of GSA.
MPS assures shipping lines of efficient services
Relatedly, the Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Port Services, Mohammed Samara, has assured shipping lines of efficient service-delivery when the Terminal 3 becomes operational by mid-year.
According to him, the company has made some huge investments in technology and a fully paperless system that will be used to deliver efficient services to shipping lines and the shipping public.
Mohammed Samara disclosed this when management of MPS engaged shipping lines to brief them on progress of work at the Tema Port expansion site.
“We have a serious productivity to offer your ships, so basically your turnaround will increase considerably if you give us the right ship in front of us and the right storage plan for that ship to operate,” Mr. Samara said.