Concerted efforts are needed to shift focus from congested road transport system to coastal shipping and inland water transportation for the movement of cargo, Naa Densua Aryeettey, President of the Ghana Chapter of the Women?s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) has said.

?There is the need to shift the increasing flow of goods from congested roads to other modes of transport and which other way than by water,? she said at the opening of a day?s seminar on coastal shipping and water tourism organized by WISTA for its members.

She was of the opinion that coastal shipping which refers to the movement of cargo and people on water has enormous potentials.

Coastal shipping, she noted, is one of the areas in the maritime trade and transport business that could benefit the country and the sub-region and that it would be important to venture into the area to explore opportunities.

Dzifa Attivor, Minister of Transport, in a keynote address, said the maritime industry contributes over 80 per cent of transportation, stressing that due to the importance of maritime trade to socio-economic development, Ghana established a shipping line christened the ?Back Star Line,? as well as other West African states.

?Today, the black Star line is no more and so are the other West African Shipping lines.? This renders it difficult for these countries to participate effectively in the trade that their countries generate.?

Ghana?s shipping industry, she noted, has recorded tremendous growth within the last few years.

?This could facilitate smooth trading transactions across borders, as they will be able to avoid the delays and harassments on the road and border checkpoints.?

Mrs. Attivor noted that such a vessel could serve a dual purpose.

She said the vessels could also be used for the training of cadets of the Regional Maritime University in Ghana since cadres have had to be dispatched to South Africa or Singapore to enable them undertake such practical training after completion of their course.

The promotion of coastal shipping, the Minister stated, would also serve as a source of employment for Ghana?s seafarers who currently have to rely on foreign vessels for jobs.

Mrs Attivor said the vessels would be used to transport oil to other countries within the sub-region to boost local content.

?We cannot run away from the challenges that have stifled the development of this sub-industry in the maritime sector.

The major challenge, she noted, would be financing, adding that ?successful nations were not gifted; they just worked hard and then succeeded. When we focus our purpose we can work hard to succeed.?

By Emelia Ennin Abbey

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