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24.08.2005 Business & Finance

Ghana's transit trade increased eight fold

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Tema, Aug. 24, GNA - Transit trade in Ghana grew from 100,000 tonnes in 1999 to over 800,000 tonnes last year, Mr Emmanuel Martey, Deputy Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers' Council (GSC), announced on Wednesday. He said in spite of the significant growth in transit cargo volumes, transit trade in the country was still faced with many problems and challenges.

Mr Martey was speaking at an exhibition of the Sealed Grid System, mounted by the Council in Tema.

The sealed grid is material made of metallic or seal net, synthetic or semi-reinforced synthetic net, stretched over a 10, 20, 30 or 40-tonne loaded truck and conserved by customs officials to provide safety and security in the international transportation of goods. The GSC organized the exhibition as the host institution, to display the caravan and the sealed grid material.

Representatives of major stakeholders made up of importers, transporters, freight forwarders and relevant government agencies such as the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, the Police and the Immigration Services watched the exhibition.

Under the auspices of the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), the system had been introduced to facilitate and provide safety for inter-state transportation of goods as well as the transportation of transit cargo in the West Africa sub-region. The system is being tested along corridor one, that is from Abidjan to Lagos, and corridor two, stretching from Dakar to Niamey.

If the tests on the two corridors prove successful, it will be adopted as a regional project for member-countries of MOWCA.

Mr Martey enumerated some problems associated with transit trade, saying a major human problem was the diversion of merchandise and that some of the practical challenges confronting the trade had to do with the provision of customs escorts for the transit goods.

The Deputy Chief Executive of GSC noted that in the light of the inherent difficulties in the transit trade, the Council welcomed any plans that would effectively address and lessen the problems. He said MOWCA approved the new system as far back as 2001 as one of the sub-regional projects and went ahead in 2003 to recommend its testing to ascertain its reliability and effectiveness as a customs sealing of merchandise for the inter-state transportation of goods in the sub-region.

Mr Martey urged stakeholders to take full advantage of the presence of the test caravan in the country by learning as much about the system as possible and to examine how it could help address the nagging challenges of transit trade within the sub-region.

Mr Bernard Gohibi, MOWCA representative at the exhibition, was optimistic that the successful test of the system would further strengthen economic co-operation amongst members-states.

Mr E.K. Arku, Deputy Freight and Logistic Manager of GSC, admitted that even though the awareness that trade among Africans, being one major way to secure economic independence for Africa had not been lost on people on the continent, practical steps that must be taken to ensure optimum inter-regional trade had largely been weak. 24 Aug. 05