“What about it” was the summarized phrase from one major online forum contributor in response to an article I published and an interesting question asked “What about a national shipping line for Ghana ?” He happens to be a good friend from Europe and a very knowledgeable person in terms of the maritime and transportation industry in Ghana both past and present. I have therefore decided to share his great insight about certain issues with readers.
The world market at the moment needs less ships – not more. And, national shipping lines and airlines are things of the past. What Ghana really needs is good regional coastal services coupled with River and Lake transports to make distribution and export more viable and not its over dependence on trucking which always was an iffy proposition in Africa as a whole.
Ghana had an excellent railway network , perhaps a combination of these are good strategies to optimize on more than a couple of methods as at present. We need to move beyond the “tro-tro” solutions, don’t you agree?
Ghana needs a small internal or regional airline with Combi type aircraft ( both cargo and passenger air craft) – NOT Jets! Coupled with first class marketing and Operation. West Coast Africa as a whole is after all the most vibrant and commercially viable region of the entire Africas.
Also Read AN OPEN LETTER FROM A FRIEND OF AFRICA
I lived in Ghana in the 70’s. Ran a Marine Contracting company ,the only one in the country at the time. We had Two Ports suitable for OGC’s plus Sekundi. A Maritime academy, gifted by UK and Norway with a high academic for purpose level. A modern fishing fleet of Stern Trawlers, gifted by UK and Norway again, a company that went totally bankrupt when the donors pulled out.
Mankoadze Fisheries made money with the same fleet and crew, Robert Okran was no fool. Tema Food-complex had it all apart from enough people that could run it.
And, as for BSL – the vessels got into a state after only few years rendering them only fit for the Beaches of Pakistan and Bangladesh, due to dreadful or no management, no Crew Discipline and much based on ‘brotherisation’!
The Stern Trawlers, those that could be economically salvaged, apart from Mankoadze went into the hands of the Koreans and Taiwanese, which continued fishing in Ghanaian waters – on contract to Mankoadze.
The Russian fleet of side trawlers were sinking in The Tema Harbour Basin, the Acheampong Government of the day had them scrapped and what was left we took outside the 200 fathom line.
The country had two graving docks in Tema , the potentially best facilities on the entire West African Coast until Modern Day Walvis Bay.
Today, Ghana has Oil and Gas – and thank heavens not over dependent on Donors. But increasingly becoming blindsided by the O&G industry. Gone are the days of Valco, the Akosombo dam “impracticality” (a huge dam built to run a few Kaiser Potlines?). Now, in a market where the O&G prices are predictably hitting the pain-border , Ghana would be well advised to start looking inward to optimize its own transport infrastructure – looking for partners for purpose and resources to sell other than O&G – as African resources lives or dies under the yoke of poor transport solutions.
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