Minister Appeals For Holistic Solution To Maritime Challenges

Kwaku Ofori Asiamah

MINISTER FOR Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has called for a holistic approach to address the trends, developments and challenges facing the maritime industry for the shipping industry to reach its full potential.

According to him, the best way to achieve this will be through the formulation of robust maritime policies and strategies as well as build close collaboration and communication between industry players.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister Transport, Mr. Ofori urged the newly constituted governing board of the GMA to regulate, monitor, and coordinate activities within the industry to develop and implement all-encompassing maritime strategies and programmes for the country.

He stated that the shipping industry remained the backbone of the global supply chain and added that there was the need to leverage the opportunity for shipping to boost economic growth, employment and innovation.

This year’s World Maritime Day, which was held on the theme “Seafarers: At the Core of Shipping’s Future”, sought primarily to highlight the invaluable role and contribution of seafarers within the global maritime supply chain.

The Minister said this year’s commemoration was held at a time when the world was still reeling from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic which has adversely impacted global supply chains, with the shipping industry worldwide being one of the most affected sectors.

“Obviously, we cannot be oblivious of the risk levels that seafarers are exposed to by virtue of this pandemic,” he posited.

According to him, the good news, however, was that after months of economic downturn and its resultant effects on maritime transport, the global economy was growing again and impacting positively on the whole maritime industry “as we see a step-by-step recovery of the shipping economy.”

He stated that the role of seafarers within the blue economy could not be over emphasised, and added that seafarers were essential for the safe, secure and efficient operation of ships and contribute to the protection of the fragile marine environment.

“Safe navigation ensures the continuation of maritime trade, which is vital to the world’s economy.”

“Over two million seafarers are continuously working to deliver 80% of global trade for the world’s 7.8 billion people. About 98,140 commercial vessels of 100 gross tons and above, equivalent to a capacity of 2.06 billion dead-weight tonnage (dwt) move close to 12 billion tonnes of trade.”

Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Thomas Alonsi, expressed profound gratitude to the country’s seafarers for their sacrifices.

“We have cause to celebrate the authority’s contribution to the welfare of seafarers. The Ghana Maritime Authority has been fighting for seafarers as they also fight to keep the wheels of the world economy rolling,” he indicated.

BY Ernest Kofi Adu