Participants at the 39th Council and Conference of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) have urged port authorities to utilise information communication technology to enhance the turnaround time of cargo traffic and ensure efficient services.
In PMAWCA Secretary-General’s Report, the conference proposed that port authorities in the Sub-region should plan for long-term expansion of their ports facilities to promote trade.
It encouraged governments of the various port authorities to support them in land acquisition, review land management and land-use policies to prevent encroachment as well as engage in activities that would attract cargo traffic to their respective ports.
The conference also made a number of recommendations that would improve the utilisation of ports lands in the Sub-region for efficient service delivery.
Meanwhile Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, in an earlier remarks, urged member countries of PMAWCA to constantly work together and share ideas that would ultimately promote the Sub-region as a safe and welcoming destination for shippers.
He said the government of Ghana was poised to implement the First Port Rule Policy, which would enable Customs officials from landlocked nations to operate from the country’s ports.
He said government was not oblivious of the potential logistical challenges the policy would pose and would, therefore, welcome suggestions to deal with the several bilateral protocols relating to the arrangement.
The Minister mentioned issues in relation to the mandate of the Customs Authorities of the landlocked countries would start and end, what immunities they would enjoy while they were in the country and their legal jurisdiction.
Mr Asiamah said the arrangement would ensure a win-win situation for both Ghana and the destination countries, as well as enhance trade in the Sub-region.
The four-day event was held in Accra on the theme: “Best Practices in the Management of Ports Lands”, which brought together Chief Executive and Managing Directors of Ports within the West and Central African region.
The conference attracted experts and stakeholders in the maritime industry who deliberated on a number of challenges facing the sector, shared ideas and proposed solutions to ensure efficient port services.
The conference appointed Mr Tonan Fatondji Augustin of the Port of Cotonou, Benin, to act as Secretary-General of PMAWCA following the resignation of Mr Michael Achagwe Luguje to take new appointment as Acting Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority.
Mr Tonan Fatondji will hold the fort until fresh elections were held in May next year to elect a new person.
Lome Port Authority, Togo, was selected to host the Association’s 40th Council and Conference next year, which would be held on the theme: “The Role of the State in the Port and Maritime Economy”.
PMAWCA is an inter-regional economic organisation with members stretching from Mauritania, Cape Verde, Liberia, La Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea to Angola, including landlocked countries.