Editorial: A national shipping line is an asset


Following a petition by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) and Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) to the Council of State to look into the recent high cost of goods, particularly construction materials, a former Chief Justice and member of the Council of State, Georgina Theodora Wood lamented the loss of a national Shipping liner.

She pondered over benefits the nation would have accrued, if it had diligently managed the Black Star Line (BSL) – a former state shipping line.

Presidents of GUTA and GIFF blamed Shipping Line Operators for the country’s woes, claiming that there are a number of charges on the books of shipping lines which have outlived their usefulness and are unreasonably increasing the cost of doing business.

This has consequently resulted in the high pricing of goods on the open market.

Wondering about the situation, the former Chief justice quizzed if the situation would have been different, if the state vessels were operational.

GIFF President, Edward Akrong answered in the affirmative and said now more than ever, there should be strong efforts geared at getting an African-owned vessel to push the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.

Though the Ghana Maritime Authority announced this year that the Ghana Navy has begun the process of building some ships locally, we are aware that it would not to the scale for international trade.

If the country is to consider a national shipping liner at this stage, then it would either have to order the construction of one, or go to the open market to acquire one.

Some have equally argued that the nation’s industrialization and infrastructure development agenda is in need of acquiring a vessel that will help it mobilize the necessary materials needed – not only to facilitate economic growth, but also make Ghana a maritime hub on the continent.

For instance, if a merchant wants to ship goods to Congo, it has to go to Spain and connect to Congo because there is no vessel that operates within Africa, or is owned by a state in Africa.

Branch Secretary of the Nautical Institute, Captain William Amanhyia has added his voice to such calls, arguing that: “AfCFTA is great news for the maritime sector, and the nation must do all in its power to boost fortunes of the maritime sector by being the first African country to acquire a vessel for training and trade purposes”.

This indiscipline must stop

News that the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), in collaboration with the Advertising Association of Ghana Greater Accra, held a one-day training for members on Outdoor Advertising (TCOA) of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) is gratifying.

This is because the indiscriminate manner in which advertisers place their adverts in and around the city, leaves a lot to be desired. It is haphazardly done and often unsightly.

The one-day workshop educated members on laid down regulations and standards in the placement of signage to ensure compliance.

Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey spoke at the event and observed that the wrongful management and siting of outdoor advertising signage in the Region as chaotic and threatening the lives of road users.

Though we admit that billboards and outdoor advertisements are an essential part of branding and marketing for businesses, as well as, a major source of revenue for the Assemblies and advertisers; it must be done according to standards and regulations.

In recent times, billboards in the national capital, clutter along the roads, posing a threat to pedestrians and drivers and thereby compromising road safety. To worsen the situation, our ceremonial routes have not been spared, a development, which has also affected the beautification of the city.

Henry Quartey urged MMDAs to be circumspect in the management of outdoor advertisements by complying with the standards as set by the Standards Authority. This is very crucial because MMDAs are just not following the rules as far as safety was concerned.

MMDAs have therefore been urged to critically study the National Outdoor Advertising Standard, a policy document produced in 2010, to ensure that structures such as billboards did not impede the visibility of road users or pose danger to public safety.

We are happy to learn that the Regional Coordinating Council will be on the lookout to remove all signage or outdoor advertisements that were wrongly placed and or do not meet the required standards.


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