Air exporters positioned to take advantage of COVID-19 to boost operations

Some participants at the forum

Air exporters in the country have undergone extensive training on how to position themselves to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic as the world prepares to return to normalcy.

The Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) organised this training to abreast air exporters on the challenges COVID-19 has caused the world’s supply chain and what they can do to boost their operations and attract more foreign inflows.

According to the authority, the move is strategic as the forum put into perspective the issues regarding air transport rates, transit time and the availability of shipping space. The forum also discussed standards for packaging – especially as it relates to non-traditional exports, the repatriation of export proceeds, a sensitisation on export insurance, and developing other markets within the sub-region.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Benonita Bismarck said: “We are all aware of the direct correlation that exists between exports and economic development of nations; Ghana benefits immensely from exports through its contribution to GDP, job creation, government revenue and stability of the national currency among others.

“I acknowledge, however, the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global air transportation operations which largely affected trade volumes, flight operations, market accessibility and our whole lives and businesses. The impact on business has been profound, especially in the air cargo sector of the economy.”

She further explained that: “As we are all aware, half of airfreight normally travels as belly cargo on passenger aircraft; the sharp reduction in number of flights – with forwarders having to transport urgent consignments such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical items – put a strain on the availability of space for other products: leading to higher freight rates and storage costs, unavailability of flights, delays due to transit routes, plus attendant insurance costs”.

She noted that it is the GSA’s hope that the situation will soon normalise, with vaccination ongoing and as travel restrictions are lifted for Ghana’s exporters to regain their competitive edge.

She said topics for the forum and quality of resource persons invited give confidence that the issues which impact negatively on non-traditional exports will receive the required attention and re-define the nation’s competitiveness on the international front.

She pledged the Authority’s commitment to promoting and protecting the interest of shippers to ensure the desired benefits are achieved and harnessed.

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