The Ghana Shippers’ Authority has again, this year, met with haulage truck drivers to highlight pertinent issues that are affecting the transit trade through Ghana.
This year’s event, held at the new transit truck park in Tema, centred on road governance issues, customs compliance, safety and security on the corridor.
Chairperson and General Manager in charge of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Esther Gyebi-Donkor, highlighted the significance of safety on the corridors.
She encouraged hauliers to desist from indiscriminate parking along shoulders of roads corridors to protect themselves and other motorists.
“Once you move out of the transit yard, you can only park anywhere else in Tema-Accra vicinity if you have a breakdown and when that happens you are supposed to report immediately to customs for the official processes to be undertaken.”
Speaking on behalf of her Chief Executive Officer, Benonita Bismarck, the Head of Public Relations at the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Bernice Natue, touched on the factors that have led to a stagnation in transit traffic through Ghana.
“The continued application of VAT on transit goods, the non-transparent handling of transit cargo that go on the unclear cargo list without recourse to the importer, arbitrary application of exchange of rates, harassment from uniform personnel at numerable check points along our corridors,” she listed.
She said these and other concerns have set a clear agenda on what interested parties must focus on in order to grow the industry and transit trade.
The Head of Freight and Logistics at the Shippers’ Authority, Fred Asiedu Dartey, added on to that. He said the issue of security on the transit corridors have become prevalent with recent developments creating a sense of apprehension.
He revealed that: “Just about three weeks ago, we received a report that about 26 trucks that had delivered cargoes in Niger and were returning were intercepted somewhere in the northern part of Burkina Faso; and when that happened, information reaching us was that 18 of those trucks were burnt and some of these trucks are owned by Ghanaians”.
He added that the authority has initiated extensive dialogues with key actors so far as business on the corridor is concerned to mitigate such risks along the corridor. According to Mr. Asiedu Dartey, talks are very advanced.
In the meantime, the Shippers’ Authority got a senior military officer to demonstrate preventive and reactionary measures haulage drivers could adopt during their voyage.
The Executive Secretary of the Joint Association of Port Transport Unions (JAPTU), Ibrahim Musah, representing the truck drivers, called for some reforms at Customs, the Police and other functional authorities that will improve the behaviours of officials on the corridor.
He said: “We are in competition with other countries in the sub-region for transit cargoes and we cannot be seen to be unfriendly to their cargoes when they come here. We think that most of the time when these recommendations are also made, the various institutions that are present here, should have a system of engaging their officers and get these issues to trickle down to the lowest officers to understand why we have these meetings and why there is a need to collaborate and act.”