he management of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and the Ghana Shippers Council (GSC) have declared their intention for private sector participation to facilitate construction of the Boankra Inland Port Project.
However, private investors interested in the project would be scrutinised to ensure their financial capabilities before being awarded contracts, Mr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive of GSC disclosed in an interview with newsmen at Tema last Tuesday. The two institutions initiated the project sited at Boankra in the Ashanti Region to reduce travelling to the ports by shippers to clear goods and in addition ease congestion.
In 2001, the sod was cut for commencement of work on the project, which had an initial cost of 44 million US dollars. Since then only the administrative block that is expected to complete in September this year, has been constructed while other infrastructure and facilities for phase one are yet to be tackled.
When completed cargoes would be conveyed from the seaports to the inland port from where shippers from the northern sector and landlocked countries would clear their goods. Currently, Mr Mbiah said the GSC had provided warehouses within the port for shippers to store their cargoes to undertake their transactions until they source funds to clear them.
Mr Mbiah who is also the Vice Chairman of the Legal Committee of the Council said work on the project, had not progressed as expected because of financial constraints hence the involvement of the private sector.
He said to facilitate trade transaction by shippers, the Council would soon establish information centres in the regions and districts to enable them access information about their cargoes. Each centre is estimated to cost 300 million cedis. With uncertainties in business transactions, Mr Mbiah advised shippers to endeavour to insure their cargoes in order that in the event of any disaster they could be compensated.
Mr Mbiah, however, advised them against the practice of illegal transactions in the maritime industry because the GSC would expose anyone involved in malpractices. He said GSC had embarked on educational drive through seminars for the Judiciary to be well informed of the maritime law in order to deal efficiently and effectively with maritime cases.
So far three batches of judges and lawyers have benefited from such educational programmes.