By Cecil Mensah
African governments, have admitted that the challenges of the unemployment in the continent, could be resolved using intermodal transport activities and the provision of port infrastructure.
According to the governments, when there is adequate provision of roads, railways, as well as inland waterways to facilitate freight transport, the challenges of the youth unemployment, could be resolved.
Minister of Transport, Mr. Franklin Fifi Kwetey ,and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu South in the Volta Region, made this admission when he delivered the key note address at the fifteenth intermodal Africa conference under the auspices of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) in Accra.
He said, it was for this reasons that the Africa Union (AU) agenda 2063 was focused on boosting the prospects of the continent’s economy, through improvement in the shipping industry, for it to be at par with the rest of the world.
According to him, African countries are undertaking important initiatives in this regard, the tenth General Assembly of the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC) which was held in the country with focus on the implementation of AU’s integrated maritime strategy, emphasized on the need for Africa to fully integrate in order to maximize benefits from the maritime domain.
“We cannot tap the full benefits of ports and shipping without promoting intermodal transport. In view of this that, we need to secure modern and appropriate logistics, build strategic partnership and the capacity of the human resource base of the industry.
Africa must adapt to best practices such as port automation and develop appropriate policies for the industry”, he said.
He noted that in Ghana, the GPHA, has entered into concessionary agreement with a private consortium to expand the port of Tema to more than three times its current capacity.
He added that, the first phase of the project is the construction of four container terminals and the expansion of the Tema motorway into six lanes at the cost of 1.5 billion Dollars.
He said, the project was expected to be completed by 2018, and would be one of the biggest port expansion projects in the West Africa sub -region.
Already about three hundred and fifty million Euros is being invested in the Takoradi port project to expand facilities to meet the new dynamics of the maritime trade, especially the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas.
He announced that, the existing maritime regulations in the country have also been reviewed to address the new challenges of the maritime industry.
He said, one of the challenges facing the African continent was how to attract investors with resources to invest, hence Ghana’s decision to develop a framework of Public Private Partnership (PPP) which sets out the guidelines for attracting investors across the world.
Earlier in a welcome address, Mr. Richard Anamo, Director-General of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) said, trade volumes are rising, as well as the cost of doing business across the transport chain, is also rising on the continent.
According to him, Vessel sizes are equally also increasing with direct implication on the length and depths of berthing facilities in the ports.
In view of this, ports have to expand their facilities to accommodate these post-panamax vessels or risk becoming feeder ports on the continent, he said.