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07.07.2005 Regional News

Inter-Sectoral Oversight Committee on Maritime operations inaugurated


Accra, July 7, GNA - The Ministry of Harbours and Railways on Thursday inaugurated a committee to streamline maritime operations. The 18-member inter-sectoral committee chaired by Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister of Harbours and Railways, is expected to play an advisory role to ensure high levels of efficiency in the operations of the Tema and Takoradi Ports.

It is also expected to make recommendations on measures to harmonise and streamline activities at the two ports, examine their current operations with the view to suggesting ways of minimizing bureaucratic procedures and bottlenecks and further deal with all other matters to ensure effective maritime operation.

Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi said as maritime operations had assumed greater significance with the consistent and impressive growth in transit traffic through the two major ports to other neighbouring countries, it was important to ensure maximum security and also ensure minimal frustration of shippers.

He explained that the Ministry had been receiving numerous complaints about the poor services provided at the various ports, adding that while some had to go through unfriendly business processes, other trans-shippers went through more than 35 Police barriers and checkpoints between Tema and Paga.

"This discourages swift business operation and hinder proper profit realisation," he said.

The Minister stated that the implementation of institutional reforms by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the Port Development Programmes were aimed at improving port capacity, the privatisation of cargo handling services, the procurement of cranes and the construction of a state-of-the art container terminal at Tema Harbour were all designed to expand the capacity of the ports and ensure improved efficiency.

"These measures would strengthen our competitiveness and improve business in our ports as well as boost activities that are directly and indirectly associated with our ports," he said.

Prof Ameyew-Akumfi said the committee would ensure the harmonization of the roles of the different agencies and organisations in the ports to ensure sanity to attain efficiency and competitiveness. He appealed to the public to draw the attention of authorities to loopholes at the ports and other entry points to ensure redress.