Ghana Maritime Authority Moves To Decongest Ports

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has inaugurated a 12-member committee to analyze the causes of congestion at the country�s ports to ensure free movement of cargo to promote international trade. Launching the committee, Minister for Transport, Collins Dauda, said the plan was geared towards addressing heavy congestion at the country�s ports. He said the establishment of the committee is in accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention on the facilitation of the International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention). He noted that the committee had been tasked to enforce maritime traffic regulation that would lead to the prevention and suppression of illicit trade including drugs and also enhance quick clearance of goods. The minister said the committee would also collaborate with the security agencies to curb the high incidence of piracy and arm robbery at the ports. The Director General of the GMA, Peter Issaka Azuma, Chairman of the committee, said congestion at the ports was hampering activities and stressed the need to institute measures to check the trend. �In order to reduce the increasing port congestion and unnecessary associated costs, it is imperative for the formation of the national facilitation committee to regularly consider and analyse the causes of congestion for redress.� �Today�s ships� queue at anchorage has become long due to cumbersome ship and cargo clearance procedures. It is also observed that such queues of ship and port congestions have adverse port costs and maritime security implications.� He said the committee will optimize the use of what he calls �intrinsic port capacity� by promoting synchronized operation for seemless flow of cargoes and traffic through the ports.� This, he said, could be done through the use of standardized forms and electronic clearance system adopted by the contracting parties to the IMO convention on the facilitation of the International Maritime Traffic which Ghana signed in 1965. Also the GMA will provide the requisite secretariat services and logistics support for the effective performance of the work of the committee to enable the committee take advantage of the evolving opportunities to catapult the country�s maritime corridor into a regional hub.