The survival of freight forwarding for indigenes at the port is threatened by the increasing involvement foreigners.
As the case between Ghana Union of Traders Associations and neighbouring Nigerian regarding retailing, international shipping lines who are mainly foreigners now perform the freight forwarding business which should be the preserve of the local people.
The worrisome growing trend came to the fore during unveiling of a research report christened, “Impact of COVID-19 on the future of Ghana’s maritime industry, advocacy for collaboration among industry players, in Tema. It was conducted by a Ghana-based policy think tank, Centre for International Maritime Affairs, Ghana, CIMAG.
The research whose feasibility study employed three measurement instrument analysis: market and sales structure, financial structure and operational efficiency focused on the freight forwarding sub-sector, one of the hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the import and export industry chain.
The Executive Director of CIMAG, Albert Derrick Fiatui speaking to the ghanaianvoiceonline at the unveiling ceremony was worried at the pace at the development and implored the government to take immediate steps to enact a law to protect the business for the locals, citing Nigeria as a case study.
Mr. Fiatui who disclosed that CIMAG will soon write to the presidency regarding the concern however charged the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders to sensitise its members to pull their weights and rebrand themselves to keenly compete with these foreigners, even if they have to remain in the business.
The lead researcher of CIMAG, Dr. Bismark Ameya for his part mentioned operational efficiency as the most affected component of the measuring instruments used. Dr. Ameyaw tasked industry players to ICT incline, take advantage various available ICT instruments to digitise their operations such that customers can track and trust them for expeditious effective job execution.
A participant and Chief Executive Officer of Genera Port Logistics Limited, Michael Ahiableh expressed dissatisfaction at government’s neglect of freight forwarders in the provision of stimulus packages to other players, even though they are deemed as one of the hardly hit by the pandemic.
In respect of shipping lines refusal to adhere to the president’s directive to give discounts and suspend demurrage charges during the heated coronavirus era, Mr. Ahiableh urged the government to follow up its directives in such times to ensure compliance, and ultimately prevent recurrence of such situation in the future.
Freight forwarders who were happy for the first time, having a policy think tank which is seen to be the link between them and the government pledged their support for CIMAG.
By: Edward Graham Sebbie