The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has commended the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) for its continuous sensitization of haulage truck drivers and owners on the rules and regulations covering transit trade activities in Ghana.
Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor, GPHA General Manager for Marketing and Corporate Affairs, who gave the commendation at the Fourth GSA Sensitization Workshop held in Tema for haulage truck drivers, said the need for such training could not be overemphasized.
She said the drivers and owners of the trucks were crucial in the transportation of the cargoes that were brought to the ports, as well as delivering the same to the people.
Mrs Gyebi-Donkor who chaired the workshop said, without the drivers the cargo would not get to its destinations, adding that they were critical in the supply value chain.
She added that “there are lots of stakeholders that they come into contact with while they are on the corridor to their destinations, these stakeholders have various rules and regulations that they need to abide by.
“It is therefore prudent that GSA has dedicated the years to bring new regulations and policies or emphasize some of these happenings to them.”
She said the awareness creation would help the transit corridor to have fewer confrontations among partners and improve on the service delivery to Ghana’s landlocked countries which were important in keeping the various agencies running.
Mrs Gyebi-Donkor said to have an improved corridor devoid of problems and agitations, all stakeholders needed to play their roles in a manner that was befitting of their expectations of each other, and by so doing, growing the business with each other to their mutual benefits.
She said it was an established fact that Ghana’s ports were not only competing with itself, as when it comes to transit trade, but there were also equally, strong ports in Lomé, Abidjan, Cotonou, and even far away Dakar to compete with.
She said to win more market shares, there was the need to improve on the ways of doing business at the port and along the corridor.
She said the GPHA and its partners like the GSA had proven that Ghana could do it, as now, the country’s ports were running efficiently compared to competitors in the sub-region after a lot of resources had been invested into improving the services offered to clients both at ports and points of exits such as Paga.
Recounting some incidents that occurred last year on the corridor, she said while some drivers were brutalized at the Yapei Police checkpoint in July, some Ghanaians and Nigerien drivers were also manhandled in Burkina Faso.
In addition, some 15 Ghanaian haulage trucks loaded with alum became stranded in Ouagadougou which took about four and six months to respectively release seven and eight of the trucks after GPHA collaborated with other stakeholders.
“While I agree that the above complaints and incidents are genuine and sometimes can be frustrating, I dare say that some of them are self-inflicted, for example, loading any truck of cargo without recourse to laws and regulations governing their carriage.
“Some drivers allowed their trucks to be overloaded, while you do that you give some few officials within the chain the cause to harass you unnecessarily, this is condemnable in all forms,” she stated.
Answering a question on the activities of some elongated trucks that load from the port and have issues manoeuvring, she said the GPHA would engage all stakeholders on the possible measures to solve the problem as some truck owners alter the original length of the trucks.
She said efforts from the GPHA to check such trucks by engaging some consultants to inspect them were met by some stiff opposition from the drivers who hitherto had denied being behind the elongation of the trucks.
Ms Benonita Bismarck, GSA Chief Executive Officer, on her part noted that the haulage truck owners and their drivers had a crucial role to play in the achievement of the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ms Bismarck said the haulage truck owners and drivers would enhance the prospects of the AfCFTA through their facilitation of the exportation and importation of cargoes across the sub-region.
She added that the expected increase in trade in goods in the free trade area would mainly be carried by the haulage trucks to provide fresh opportunities for the haulage industry, especially for the benefit of the landlocked countries.