Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority News

Players in the maritime industry including the Ghana Ports Harbours Authority, Maritime Labour, Ghana Shippers Authority, Tema Shipyard, Ghana Dock Labour Company Ltd, Maritime and Dockworkers Union of TUC, Ghana Railways Company marshalled their labour force to join in the May Day parade that was held in Accra.
The general labour force present, marched ceremoniously in groups while they displayed on placards some suggestions covering a variety of concerns they wanted government to address so as to improve the maritime industry.
Some of the placards read: Mr President, stevedore workers are losing their jobs because many companies are chasing fewer cargoes, Mr President don’t leave the port in foreign hands, Mr President, workers of Tema Shipyard appreciate your decision to maintain the shipyard management under GPHA, His. Excellency kindly fast track the legal title of Tema Shipyard to GPHA to fully and legally manage the facility, Ghanaians deserve a better and efficient railway system, Mr President, Bauxite and Manganese are waiting for revamping of Western rail line among others.
The Greater Accra Regional Secretary of the Trade Union Congress Freda Frimpong, called for government’s intervention to avert the trend of having large number of public servants who have had their jobs terminated after being declared redundant.
“The few Ghanaians who have some form of decent employment are constantly being threatened with redundancy,” she lamented.  

The Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey also urged the workers to reenergize and come on board the global agenda of sustainable development. 
“This parade should indeed encourage all working people in Ghana to join forces with Government and help generate the ideas, policies, strategies, actions, programmes, and commitment that would facilitate the growing of the national economy,” he stated.
Echoing some of the concerns raised by the labour force, GPHA’s Junior Staff Chairman, Emmanuel Nii Quaye, said the government should commit to ensuring occupational security for employees of government institutions.
“The security of the workers in the port or GPHA workers is what we are praying because every now and then staff fall on the Union to try to know whether they are secured in the next future,” he said. 
The Maritime Labour were beautifully represented and marched at the parade, followed by the GPHA Union, the Tema Shipyard, and Ghana Dock Labour Ltd. 


Ghana’s trade pendulum has always tilted in favour of import. In 2017, for instance local import through the sea ports of Ghana was 14,291,009 tonnes of cargo compared to an export of 6,463,077 tonnes.  
Previously, various local agencies have made respective individual initiatives while several international organizations have also run ad hoc programmes to improve Ghana’s export. But these efforts have not largely succeeded in balancing Ghana’s trade leading to a huge deficit against export.
As part of efforts to building strategic partnership for the growth of export trade in Ghana, various players in the export business including regulatory agencies have been engaged in a move to brainstorm on how Ghana can balance its trade deficit between export and import trade through integrated ideas to enable the development of a cohesive strategic implementation plan.
The engagement which was facilitated by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority led by its Director General, Paul Asare Ansah was targeted to find ways of balancing the trade deficit between import and export by growing export traffic.
At the opening of the ice breaking meeting on export growth in Ghana, the Director General, Paul Asare Ansah highlighted some initiatives by GPHA to help increase export trade include expansion and modernisation of port facilities in Tema and Takoradi.
He said GPHA’s tariffs are lower for exports than imports. “The recent increases in ports charges, we didn’t even touch exports at all, in some cases, so that we encourage the sector”, he stated.
Paul Ansah expressed GPHA’s willingness to provide accommodation to bring Exim bank closer to the port community, collaborate to ensure intermodal linkage to and from the ports and building strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders to grow Ghana’s export.

 “Whatever assistance we will offer Ghana Freezones to ensure that our country becomes an attractive export processing destination, we are ready to partner with them, just as everybody is here to partner with each other with a common goal to achieve,” he added.
The Commissioner of Customs, Isaac Crentsil said it will be difficult for any country to develop without export. 

“All the issues that we talk about, with respect to unemployment, people are challenging figures, if there are readily available export markets, some would be shifted or moved into agricultural areas to do more agricultural products so that they would be able to then, export. But then if the structures, the strategies, the platforms are not there, it becomes very difficult,” he said.
He pledged the commitment of customs division of the GRA to facilitate export products at Ghana’s borders and ports.
“Whatever that we can do, to ensure that export business improves, or our export regime improves, we will do it, because like we said, we partner the government to ensure that revenue comes in to help build our good nation. And therefore we would support any organisation that comes forward to ensure that we will be able to export. Our strategy is that we will be talking to the trade associations,” he noted.

The Executive Secretary on Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asaki called on agencies responsible for export in the country to expedite their registration processes in order not to deter and frustrate exporters.
“If I am going to FDA, that I’m developing okro for export or if I go to Standards Authority or if I go to Plant Quarantine Division or if I go to Veterinary that I’m getting into meat production, how fast is their procedure? Registration fee alone is not encouraging,” he expressed.
A representative of the Food and Drugs Authority decried instances where exporters fail to obtain the requisite export licenses and certificates before exporting their products. 
“When we certify the palm oil, we give what we call certificate of free sale and manufacture. So ideally, at the ports, before it leaves here, every consignment that has been certified by the Food and Drugs Authority would have this certificate. So these companies that send their product out there which FDA in not in the known, how did they get out there? That is a serious issue we are battling with,” the representative shared.
Eric Amoako Twum, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Export Promotion Authority highlighted some efforts made by his outfit in promoting export.
“What we have done is that we have tweaked the national export strategy that we came to meet with a new strategic plan that feeds into the government’s ten point transformation agenda so I am glad that you spoke about 1D1F and all those things. But the point is that without a broad-base strategic initiative, we will do things in silos,” he opined.
Naa Dansua Ayittey, Head of Shipper Services and Trade Facilitation of the Ghana Shippers Authority said exporters need to be trained on how to package their products.
“Complaints that we have received from some of them is that they do not even know how to package their things and export it in order to be competitive on the international market. Apart from what the Food and Drugs Authority has mentioned, we can say, when we talk to them, that they have difficulty in being competitive on the international market because they do not understand the process of shipping,” she indicated.
She advised that a one-stop shop service point should be provided for exporters to expedite their operations.
“This thing has been talked for a long time the one-stop shop for everyone to be able to know that, if I get into this particular place, I’ll get FDA there, I’ll get Standards Authority, I’ll get GRA, and I’ll get GPHA all at the place. I do not need to go to one place to the other then to another before I could complete my procedures. Sometimes they find it difficult,” she lamented.
Ghana Standard Authority hinted that steps should be taken to find out why some export products are rejected on the international market.
“Can we have data on why some of the products are rejected at the point of entry? I think last week, for instance, there was a publication that cocoa was rejected by Japan, due to pesticides. So if we have data on information on these things, in order not to lose the bits that we are even exporting,” Research Manager at GSA, Kwesi Owusu said.
Ghana Free Zones Board suggested that export policies by regulatory agencies should be done in consultation with other agencies to avert overlapping.
“A good example is where Ghana Standards Authority will come out and then make a blanket policy which sometimes affects the Free Zones Enterprises. You know the Free Zones are specialized in nature so we will expect that if you have this policy in place, they should have communicated to the secretariat. We will know how to approach the Free zones companies and educate them,” a representative of the Free Zones board explained.
The Ghana Chamber of Commerce, reiterated the need for exporters to be trained and bemoaned the fact that regulations are brought on the blind side of the export community.
“Regulations are brought without even considering the export community. We only see the headlines in the papers, after maybe you have prepared something you are going to export, only to be hit with something that you don’t understand- new regulations! I think we need to see ourselves as partners,” Isaac Barry, Tema Regional Chairman of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce lamented. 
The chamber of commerce also stressed the need for the capacity building for manufacturers.
“Let’s team up, build the capacity of the producers, and then at the time of exports, the challenges we are facing now would be minimized or we can eliminate some of them. Because if Food and Drugs Authority should sit and wait for the exporter to come to the Port for you to use your machine to test oil. Yes you may seize that particular oil but export may not continue,” another representative of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce contributed.
A Deputy Commissioner, Operations at the Customs Division of the GRA, Seth Dwira called for resources to be pulled together by exporters in order to make great impact in the export business.
“Products come in the rural areas, at the end of the day, they got rotten. This serves as a disincentive for farmers to produce the following year. This should be looked at. They should be a buffer stock where when farmers who lose at the end of year, would be cushioned so that the following year, they can plant or go to the farm,” he suggested.
Kojo Asomaning from Amaris Terminal called for collaboration of all agencies to drive the export sector.
“What I would suggest going forward, is to form a steering committee; even if it is monthly or quarterly so that we can meet and have that forum that can carry forward the very good work that GPHA is doing in terms of these strategic moves,” he added.
Evelyn Nyarko, the Deputy Director at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre called on regulatory agencies to train their staff on new export regulations so as to facilitate the export trade.
“Let us educate officers at the ports. There has been instances where policies are running, they get there and the officers have not heard it before. So, you will now have to talk to the officers there and explain to them that this is the issue to the extent that some would ask you to give them copies of the documents but copies have already gone to their heads,” she highlighted.
The Head of Communications of Exim Bank, Emmanuel Essilfie-Conduah called for collaboration between agencies in the export sector in order to promote the export business in Ghana. He pledged the commitment of his outfit to support exporters who need their facilities to promote their trade.
“Our role as EXIM bank is to facilitating Ghana International Trade and we have the funds. What we want to do is to be able to identify the most important crops or products which has international advantage,” he stated
Both the Director General of GPHA, Paul Ansah and Commissioner of Customs Division of GRA shared that thoughts expressed at the stakeholder meeting would be harmonised into an integrated strategic plan after which a national stakeholder section would be held in an effort to promote the export sector.
“We must be determined to change the direction of trade in our country, no two ways about that. And that change would be occasioned or effected by those of us gathered here who have direct interest in growing the export sector,” Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah averred.


The Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Paul Asare Ansah has picked up two separate awards for his meritorious service to the Port Authority.
The first award was at the 8th Edition of the Ghana Entrepreneurs and Corporate Executive Awards, where Paul Ansah was awarded the Best Maritime and Ports Industry CEO of the Year.
He was among Ghana’s top entrepreneurs and executives who were celebrated.
Paul Ansah was awarded for implementing policies that sustain Ghana’s ports as the preferred port within the sub-region. 
His commitment to fetch business for the maritime economy by courting trade partners from the Sahelian regions, his drive to ensure the effective operation of the paperless regime and his attempt to augment the export sector through collaborative efforts with other stakeholders culminated into him being awarded.
After receiving the award for best Maritime and Ports Industry CEO of the Year, Paul Ansah said he is honoured to receive the award on behalf of the organisation saying it is testament to the work that has been put in. “I dedicate the award to the entire workforce and able management,” he said.

 He assured that, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority is even more charged now to put in their best to promote the port and diversify its functions in order to maintain its position of being among the best.
"We are diversifying our activities, strong promotion for transit and transhipment and we want to establish the Ghanaian corridor as the petrochemical hub of the West and Central African sub-region," he said.
Paul Ansah added that GPHA is being driven through innovation with the automation of all business processes and that include the paperless process at the Ports.
The Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka Lindsey who represented the President of Ghana at the ceremony, charged the executives to work even harder to align with the country’s economic objectives.
He said government has availed itself to create an enabling environment for them to effectively perform naming the paperless system as one of the initiatives.
The Ghana Entrepreneurs and Corporate Executive Awards, is held annually by Entrepreneurs Foundation of Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the Ministry of Business Development to recognize both private and public service executives for their accomplishments over the year.

Additionally, Mr. Paul Asare Ansah was also honoured with the Crystal Achievement Award by the United Clergy International Association Worldwide (UCIA) at the British Council. According to the faith-based group, Mr. Paul Asare Ansah has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities toward the growth of the Ghana Port and Harbours Authority.
They explained that the award, is to encourage Mr. Paul Asare Ansah to continue in his service to humanity through effective port management systems that frown upon corruption.
The United Clergy International Association Worldwide (UCIA) is a decency and orderly association that awards individuals in diverse areas of discipline. With a monitoring unit that monitors individuals who cause tremendous advancement in their quest to contribute their quota to society’s development.
The association awarded him with other great individuals for their quest in recognizing and resisting corruption in leadership.
This year, the Founder and Executive Chairman for United Clergy International Association, Bishop Dr. Kwame Aburam Anoff Snr. honoured other outstanding individuals during its 5th Anniversary and 4th ever global Achievers Leadership Awards ceremony.


The Chief Executive Officer of Burkina Shippers Authority Herve Ilboudo, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers Authority Benonita Bismarck and other management members of the Ghana Shippers Authority have paid a courtesy call on the Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Paul Asare Ansah. The visit is to revive the existing good relations between the trade community in Burkina Faso and Ghana.
The CEO of Burkina Shippers Authority Herve Ilboudo hinted that her outfit is currently studying a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) intended to improve transit trade between Ghana and Burkina Faso.
“Our wish is to sign the MOU one day. We will look at the MOU and come up with something that can benefit both of us,” he stated.

The Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Paul Asare Ansah highlighted some plans by his organization towards promoting the Ghanaian corridor to the three transit countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
“Since we returned from Burkina, the issues that were raised, we have started addressing them very effectively. Others that also emerged in Niger, we are taking the necessary steps to address them to ensure that the Ghanaian corridor becomes most competitive and most user-friendly for the landlocked countries,” he said. 

The Port Authority Boss hinted that, top on his agenda at the moment is to improve the transit park at Paga to support the trade.
“The immediate thing that we are working towards addressing is the transit park at Paga- Very dusty and very unhealthy. And we have initiated the measures to pave the entire place,” he noted.


Demurrage charges refer to fees payable by importers when their import containers are not cleared and remain under the control of the shipping line beyond the stipulated seven days due to delays.
At a seminar organized by the Ghana Shippers Authority and participated by agencies including, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders(GIFF), a Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers Authority, Sylvia Asana Dauda assured stakeholders that her outfit will lead a vibrant sensitization agenda to educate shippers on how to avoid demurrages. 
“As an organization, we have taken it upon ourselves to engage various stakeholders so we can delve into the issue of demurrage and come out with the practical challenges that shippers are facing so that see how best we can tackle this issue to reduce the payment of demurrages to the barest minimum”, she expressed.
The President of the Ghana Union of Trade Association (GUTA), Joseph Obeng advised traders to do their best and prevent the payment of demurrages, in order to avoid high cost of doing business at the Ports. 
“We are telling them to secure demurrage free from the onset of the shipping of their products from their suppliers,” he encouraged. 
Vice President of the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, Adam Imoro Ayarna advised shippers to always engage the clearing agents to negotiate additional free days any time they observe that their clearance will delay instead of waiting to default the stipulated timeframe.
Nana Esi Soderberg, Executive Assistant to the Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, urged importers to familiarize themselves with clearance charges and procedures before embarking on their shipping business.
“What are the documentations, what are the cost that each of these parties require? It is very important at the beginning to break these down,” she urged.
The President of Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Kwabena Ofosu Appiah reminded the participants that in the Revenue Laws, Customs Act 2009, Section 44 (5), Saturdays, Sundays or Public holidays are not to be added to the free seven days of clearance hence should not be used in calculating demurrages.
“If they have a special dispensation for which reason their count is different, we will have to know and get is established,” he added. 
Demurrage charges are said to have impacts on the Ghanaian economy, due to the effects it has on the cost of imports and eventually results in high cost of living.

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