The government has begun the feasibility study for the construction of two fishing harbours at Jamestown in the Greater Accra Region and Keta in the Volta Region, the Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has said.
He explained that the two new harbours will help enhance the fishing industry, as well as increase the volume of business from landlocked countries in the West African Sub-Region.
Mr Asiamah indicated that preparations and discussions were far advanced for the construction of the two new harbours in the country.
He was speaking in an interview with Eye on Port, a television programme aired on the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) on Wednesday (June 14).
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Mr Asiamah stated that the ministry had had many discussions with the various partners involve in the harbour construction projects and the outcome had been impressive.
“We just met the partners some few days ago concerning the development of the harbor construction projects and we believe that things are looking great for the project,” he said.
“We recently tasked a committee that has been setup purposely to oversee the construction of the new harbours to upgrade a report for the projects with a period of one month,” he said.
He observed that the government intended to put-up a complete edifice to help increase the volume of business from landlocked countries in the sub-region.
Vision for transport sector
Outlining his vision for the country’s transport sector, the minister said the government planned to expand the Takoradi Harbour to Sekondi, as well as construct a logistics centre in Sekondi.
He underscored that ports and harbours played a very important role in the socio-economic development of every country. Landlocked countries greatly depended on countries with ports and harbour facilities to either import or export their goods.
This means that countries with good maritime facilities stand the chance to rake in additional revenue by serving landlocked countries. Therefore, with establishment of these two harbours, coupled with various systems puts in place, Ghana is positioning itself to benefit massively from the maritime industry.
This is because the two harbours, when completed in addition to the already existing ports and harbours in Tema and Takoradi, will serve the needs of neighbouring landlocked countries within the West African Sub-Region
Impacts of maritime industry
The transportation sector is a strong factor in terms of economic and regional balanced development, as well as also having a great influence on national integration to the world economic market.
Ports constitute an important economic activity in coastal areas. The higher the throughput of goods and passengers year-on-year, the more infrastructure, provisions and associated services are required.
Ports and harbours are also important for the support of economic activities in the hinterland since they act as a crucial connection between sea and land transport.
As a supplier of jobs, ports do not only serve an economic but also a social function. In terms of load carried, seaway transport is the cheapest and most effective transport system compared to other systems.
Industries require a safe and cheap means of exporting finished goods and importing raw materials. Hence the majority of industries in the world are located in the coastal belts, in the vicinity of major ports.
These industries in turn, influence the lives of the employees and indirect benefactors.
With this in mind, Mr Asiamah observed that the government was committed to improving trade facilitation in the country, adding that addressing bottlenecks at the ports was a shared responsibility.
“When you talk about addressing bottlenecks at the ports to improve movement of transit trade or movement of goods,it largely involves a collaborative effort from certain key stakeholders,” he said.
“We will all admit there were previously lots of complaint concerning movement of goods from the country’s ports, but now the government had put in place certain systems to curb such challenges,” he added.
Some of the systems, he mentioned included the introduction of tracking system by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet) to check the movement of goods in the country.
“We even recently got funding from Borderless Alliance, a non-governmental organisation to put in place systems and measures to reduce the various bottlenecks importers face at the ports and I am sure that this will soon yield results,” he added.