Renewed confidence in the business environment is expected to lead to a 10 percent growth in the maritime sector this year, Dr. Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has projected.
Government interventions in the agric value chain and the industrial sectors of the economy are expected to be the main drivers of growth for one of the vibrant sectors of the local economy.
Apprising journalists on happenings in the maritime sector at the maiden “Shipping Quarter and Outlook” in Accra, Dr. Mbiah said: “The maritime trade outlook for 2017 is bright; the sector is likely to see steady increase in trade volumes–with boosts in both imports and exports.”
The industry sustained its trade performance last year, with total imports rising by 3.2 percent to 12.05 million metric tonnes while exports within the same period moved up to 5.55 million metric tonnes, representing a 26.9 percent surge.
Overall, seaborne trade volumes increased by 7.9 percent over the 2015 figure, although the last quarter saw 2 percent decline owing to the general elections.
Imports took up 68.5 percent of total trade with the remaining 31.5 percent being exports, and according to the shippers’ boss, the figures were a true reflection of the country’s fundamental structure as an import-driven economy.
He however hinted that with the ongoing infrastructural developments at the Takoradi Port, the outlook for key exports—specifically bauxite and manganese—looks bright.
Dr. Kofi Mbiah further urged government and industry regulators to accelerate the pace of reforms in business processes and also increase technological penetration in the goods clearance procedures at the ports to sustain the positive growth trend in the sector.
He said: “We need to reduce delays, cut down costs and make the shipper more competitive; to this end; we must improve upon profiling, utilisation of advance information as well as improvements in non-intrusive inspections mechanisms and sanction regimes.”
As a dollar economy, the GSA boss also re-echoed the concerns of shippers on the need for government to work to stabilise the cedi so as to engender certainty and boost trade.
“Every effort must be made to stabilise the cedi to ensure predictability and certainty for businesses,” he noted.
The Shipping Quarter and Outlook is an initiative of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority in collaborations with various associations and relevant bodies in the sea trade sector to enlighten the media on the issues and concerns of the industry.
GSA’s Public Relations Manager, Fred Asiedu-Dartey, said of the initiative seeks to build an authentic platform that will disseminate concerns and developments in the dominant blue economy.
He indicated: “The maritime sector is of great relevance to national socio-economic growth and a key revenue contributor, therefore, we want to partner the media to help bring the issues and concerns of the sector to the fore.”