Ecobank Ghana has indicated its preparedness to provide financial support for freight forwarders and logistics companies, as part of efforts to support their growth.
In this regard, the bank has introduced two products – working capital stream and asset finance – to address liquidity concerns of freight forwarders, logistics companies and importers.
The move, according to Managing Director-Ecobank Ghana, Dan Sackey, aims to improve turnaround time for cargo handling; reduce avoidable costs associated with cargo handling; and facilitate ease of doing business at the ports.
Speaking at the maiden shipping forum organised by the bank in Tema, he said the support will enhance the ability of key maritime players – including statutory revenue collection agencies, port/terminal operators and shipping lines – to receive payments for their services with ease and on time.
“As your financial partner, we are aware of the many challenges that your industry is faced with. Changes in the global economy have never been as evident as they have been in recent months. In particular, our national economic challenges that resulted in the country’s debt exchange programme is a case in point,” he said.
Mr. Sackey stated that: “Freight forwarders today are faced with issues such as inflation, trade wars, sanctions and the rising cost of shipping. To lighten these burdens, Ecobank Ghana is also complementing your efforts by offering smart financial solutions which provides quick access to working capital and asset finance solutions – at competitive rates and on flexible terms for eligible clients”.
Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its related challenges, he said it has created a platform for shipping and logistics companies in Ghana to demonstrate the important roles they play in ensuring timely delivery of vital medical and humanitarian supplies and other goods.
He said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to increase cross-border trade within Africa, creating more opportunities for commercial shipping and Ghana’s Atlantic ports and airports – which along with its experience and growing digital-readiness could position the country to become a logistics hub for intra-African trade.
Against this backdrop, Mr. Sackey declared that Ecobank has put in place measures to support all players in the industry to make the AfCFTA initiative beneficial to their businesses.
“The bank recently launched the Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub to help businesses take advantage of trading opportunities the AfCFTA offers, by providing a trade hub that connects importers and exporters across Africa to trade their goods and services in new markets,” he said.
He added: “As a financial partner that is committed to contributing to the economic development and financial integration of the African continent, Ecobank has strategically equipped six out of its 63 branches in the port cities of Tema and Takoradi to facilitate trade”.
About the Ecobank Ghana Shipping Forum
The event brought together key stakeholders and regulators – including Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Maritime Authority, members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Customs Brokers Association of Ghana (CUBAG), and Association of Customs House Agents, Ghana (ACHAG), among others – to deliberate on the maritime industry’s future.
Johnson Oware, acting Head, Corporate and Investment Banking-Ecobank Ghana, said the event marks a watershed moment for the bank and maritime stakeholders.
He indicated that plans are in place to make the forum a permanent feature on Ecobank’s calendar going forward.
“We have really considered a broad-based solution that caters for needs of the diverse players in the spectrum,” said Sandra Asiedu Ansa, Regional Head-Cash Management and Client for Ecobank Ghana and Anglophone West Africa.