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Bulk cargo registers 25% drop

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Michael Luguje speaking at the opening session of the meeting. Picture: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO
Michael Luguje speaking at the opening session of the meeting. Picture: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO

Bulk cargo imports into the country from Russia and Ukraine have registered a 25 per cent drop since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine crisis in February 2022.

This was made known by the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Michael Luguje.

According to him, the port’s recovery process from COVID-19 had been slowed due to the delay in a bulk cargo shipment from the two countries into the West African Region, especially.

“Nobody ever imagined that beyond COVID-19 we will have to battle another disaster which will impact cargo volumes, leading to original budgets being reviewed because revenues are no longer coming in as expected,” he said.

Event

Speaking at the opening session of the seventh meeting of the Board of the Ports Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) and Harbour Masters Network in Tema yesterday[June 21, 2022], Mr Luguje added that the port industry was faced with many external challenges.

The meeting is being attended by 47 delegates, made up of six board members, harbour masters from ports within the West and Central African Region, as well as port facility security officers within the PMAWCA region.

Activities at the three-day meeting involve various groupings assessing reports of the 2021 programmes of the association, including its 2021 audit report, examining and approving the 2022 activity programme, the 2022 budget, as well as a draft programme for the 42nd meeting of the council to be held in July 2022.

The Harbour masters will also share their experiences on issues related to their functions, cooperation agreements among ports and with national and regional bodies to improve maritime safety and security.

Revised budgets

Mr Luguje, who is the President of the PMAWCA, said the reduction in the volumes of bulk cargo, such as wheat, fertiliser and other products, that was supposed to have come from both Russia and Ukraine and which the GPHA had budgeted as part of its revenue stream for the year, needed to be reviewed.

He underscored the need for stakeholders in the region to put in place resilient strategies that would enable them to manage their ports in a manner that would not unleash irreparable crisis on their respective economies.

On ensuring a reduction in carbon emissions, he reminded the association to enhance its green ports agenda, in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO’s) green-house gas emissions target to reduce carbon emissions from ships.

The Chairman of the GPHA Board, Mr Isaac Osei, in a speech read on his behalf, said: “Issues of maritime piracy, marine pollution, environmental sustainability, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, as well as the age-old canker of stowaways, are but a few of the issues that remain common among member ports, for which a redoubling of efforts to nip and curtail them is urgently required.”

Security measures

The Secretary-General of the PMAWCA, Jean Marie Koffi, said the association had put in place mechanisms to safeguard security at ports within the region.

He also said issues of marine environment protection remained key to the association, and that it was implementing technical reforms to ensure compliance among member ports.