Review Of Year 2019 Under The Maritime Trade

The year 2019 was a very eventful one in Ghana’s port and maritime industry with many port development projects advancements as well as initiatives by Government to facilitate revenue mobilization and trade facilitation. This did not come without some challenges facing the industry as well.

The ending of 2018 saw both the Ports of Tema and Takoradi experience significant facelifts in port infrastructure developments.

Firstly, the Meridian Ports Services Ltd took delivery of the first batch of 4 Ship to Shore and 8 Electric Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes at the Tema Port Expansion Project site about 6 months before the completion of the 1st phase of that project. 

IBISTEK Ghana ltd, on the other hand signed an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with an international marine engineering firm; Jan De Nul (JDN), for physical construction of the first phase of the multipurpose container terminal in Takoradi called the Atlantic Terminal.

In February, a disease control measure though fumigation of containers began with 7 tunnels installed at the Tema Port, amidst some public disapproval regarding its cost to shippers.

Also, 300 NABCO interns were recruited to the Tema Collection of Customs Division of GRA to add to the human resource needed to help achieve its revenue target of 17 Billion Ghana cedis for the state in the year 2019.

Again, in February, 7 persons were busted by the Tema Railways and Ports Division of the Ghana Police for having allegedly diverted seven 40-footer reefer containers fully loaded with fishes from the Reefer Terminal at the Tema Port to cold stores around the Tema Fishing Harbour.

In March, the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo appointed Sandra Opoku as the acting Director of Tema Port taking over from Edward Kofi Osei who had reached his retirement age. Sandra Opoku became the first female Director of Port ever appointed.

In April, during the Economic Management Team town hall meeting in Accra, the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, announced a 50% reduction in benchmark values of general goods and 30% reduction in the home delivery value of cars at Ghana’s ports.

This was received with general excitement by the trading public who delighted in the relief it would bring to the cost of doing business at the country’s ports.

At the Port of Takoradi, yet another milestone was achieved with the completion of an entire 800meter quay wall facility with a draft of -16m and constructed to cater for the world’s biggest vessels, of up to 250m length and capable of receiving cargo of up to 120,000tons.

In May, the President of the Republic engaged the Maritime and Dock Workers Union at the jubilee following calls by the union for the MPS Terminal 3 contract to be renegotiated.

In June, the 40th Council meeting and 15th Director General round table Conference of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) was held in Togo bringing together Director Generals and Managing Directors of ports from 15 West and Central African states, representatives from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other stakeholders in the maritime industry including the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

The Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Michael Luguje took up the position of President of the Association.

On June 28, 2019, the first phase of the Tema Port Expansion Project, was handed over to the operational team by the construction engineers.

In July, The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and his Deputy Kwaku Kwarteng stormed the Port of Tema and the customs long room in particular, to send a clear signal to senior management of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, that government will do all in its power to stop any form of revenue leakages even if it means declaring war on unscrupulous officers who collude with freight forwarders and importers to deny the state of its needed due revenue.

Also, a group of 9 fishermen, were rescued by the safety team of the China Harbour Engineering Company after their boat was capsized by a heavy storm that struck Tema.

Similarly, the Ghana Navy rescued 8 crewmen on board Turkish vessel, Paskoy-1, after they were attacked and abandoned on sea by pirates in Nigerian territorial waters.

In other news, the workers of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) registered their displeasure at what they term as political interference in the work of the Authority during a staff durbar.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, also cut sod for works to commence on two costal fishing ports and fish landing sites in Axim, and Moree, in July.

In August, the Construction works of the First Phase of the Atlantic Multipurpose Terminal, which is being built by a wholly Ghanaian company, Ibistek Company Ltd, commenced at the Port of Takoradi.

The Ghana Shippers Authority, in collaboration, with the Ghana Maritime Authority began an awareness campaign to sensitize players in the shipping industry and the trading community regarding the policy directive by the IMO.

The IMO had across the year announced that it will begin the strict implementation of the global 0.50% sulphur cap policy for cargo vessels from January 1, 2020.

The Board of Directors of GPHA, led by its chairman, Peter Mac Manu introduced the Director of Keta Port, Alexander Adusei to the Administrative and traditional heads of the Keta area.

In the same month, the 470MW Karadeniz Powership Osman Khan, relocated to the Sekondi Naval Base, after being stationed in the Tema Fishing Harbour for four years.

Again, a three-day national conference was held in Accra on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area where the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng stated that government is developing a National Programme of Action (NPA) for its implementation.

In September, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, GEPA launched its report on 2018 non-traditional export statistics in Accra where it was revealed that GEPA saw 10.05% improvement in the general performance of Non Traditional Exports.

A dawn operation jointly carried by the military, Ghana navy, Tema Regional Police Command and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority’s Security, led to the arrest of 67 illegal settlers, around the port enclave. These individuals were alleged to be engaged in trading in illicit drugs and other criminal acts around the Port enclave.

Still in September, the Minister of Roads and highways commissioned the Community 3 roundabout reconstruction project which was built by Meridian Port Services in order to ease the flow of traffic to and from the Port of Tema in particular, and Accra and Tema as a whole.

The Coastal Conservancy Organization, a non-profit organization, was launched in October, to organize a regular and effective cleaning regime to solve the perennial filthy coastline of Ghana.

In the same month, the Maritime and Dockworkers Union of Ghana, in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress, continued its agitations surrounding the consequences of the Terminal 3 Concession agreement stating that MPS has failed to corporate with what they described as GPHA’s modest demand of handling 20% of eligible container vessels that call the Tema Port.

A new Board Chairman of the Ghana Revenue Authority Professor Stephen Adei was appointed. His first visit to the Port of Tema, was highlighted by a stern warning to custom officials who allow themselves to be used by persons in government to evade duty payments, hinting at severe penalties.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) also directed in October that all vehicles and goods cleared at the port for auction will be sold twice the duties payable with additional 50 per cent of the value of the goods.

The statement also said the ratio of distribution of auction cars is now 70% to the general public and 30 percent to the Confiscated Asserts Committee (CAC).

In November, President Akufo-Addo revealed that construction of the Keta Fish landing site will commence in December 2019 during the Hogbetsotso festival of the people of Anlo.

Later that same month, The Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta revealed that, the reduction and abolition of taxes including the 50% reduction in import duty has saved taxpayers a total of GHC4.1 billion over the last three years.

In other developments, 10 fishermen were rescued by the Port Sea Patrol team on 14th November 2019, with no fatalities recorded.

The allied stakeholders of Ghana’s ports, including the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority, the Marine Ports and Railways Unit of Ghana Police among others embarked on a 10-day Trade Mission to strengthen the existing bond between Ghana’s ports and the Sahelian countries as well as dialogue extensively about challenges encountered by transittors to achieve resolutions to various issues.

Earlier in December, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) launched the Incoterms 2020, the new guidelines set to provide specific guidance to individuals participating in the import and export of global trade in Accra.

In mid-December, sod was cut for the GPHA-funded reconstruction of the damaged Chemu Lagoon Trapezoid drain and estuary abutment to restore the lagoon to a clean state.

 The year ended with the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders electing new executives at the 23rd Annual General Meeting of the Association in Cape Coast with Edward Akrong taking over from Kwabena Ofosu Appiah as president of the Association.

Eye on port, the authoritative current affairs Maritime programme was adjudged the Best Logistics and Transport Serialized Media program within Ghana’s logistic and transport sector for the year 2018 and 2019 by the Ghana Logistics and Transport Awards.


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