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Maritime trade hits 10.28m tonnes; transit trade however declinesWednesday, January 10, 2018 > 10:38:55
The total volume of goods shipped through the country’s two seaports grew by 5.45 per cent in the first half of 2017 to 10.28 million tonnes in spite of a 1.27 per cent decline in transit trade.
The development was also in spite of 9.4 per cent recorded in the second quarter of this year. The growth was influenced by corresponding increment in exports and imports.
Data from the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) showed that imported items recorded from January to June, 2017, was 6.76 million tonnes.
This comprised 2.39 million tonnes, representing 32.4 per cent of the total cargo throughput for the period under review.
The data also revealed that majority of Ghana’s seaborne imports for the period under review came from the Far East range, representing about 27 per cent of the total import trade.
Africa was next with 24 per cent share of Ghana’s import trade. Imports from Africa was 1.631 million tonnes, a decrease of 733 tonnes over the previous year.
The major commodities imported from the Africa range were LPG, petroleum products and clinker.
The 3.0 million tonnes of goods exported through the two seaports for the period under review went to various destinations in the world.
Majority of these exports went to the Far East accounting for a total of 1.77 million tonnes.
Imported goods meant for transit amounted to 461,456 tonnes while that of exports recorded were 50,731 tonnes for the first half of this year.
Total transit volume for the three landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger amounted to 449,650 tonnes, representing a decline of 2.2 per cent compared to the second half of 2016.
Transit trade for the three landlocked countries comprised imports of 400,298 tonnes and exports of 49,352 tonnes.
Major transit trade commodities included processed foods which amounted to 65,989 tonnes, frozen foods recorded were 41,843 tonnes and iron amounted to 60,569 tonnes.
The GSA, in its quarterly maritime journal, observed that at the beginning of the second quarter of 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its outlook for last year with a projected rise in economic growth from 3.1 per cent to 3.5 per cent for 2017, and 3.6 per cent for 2018.
This is an encouraging sign, especially for trade, as this projection will be supporting shipping with a full year growth projection of 3.4 per cent (11.5 billion tonnes).
The container shipping sector is showing signs of recovery from low freight rates.
This can be attributed to waves of consolidation (the top ten liner companies now operate 75 per cent of capacity), improved volumes due to improved economic activities, increased vessel demolition activity and the realignment of liner networks.
Low freight era
Unfortunately, Ghana and many other African countries did not benefit from the low freight era, and this situation will persist for a while until these countries in Africa are able to increase their production output considerably.
Environmental sustainability pressures are also increasing as the international maritime bodies are advocating for low sulphur emissions by ships, which is adding to cost.
Again, the ballast water management rules which aim at stopping the spread of harmful aquatic organisms entered into force in September, 2017 and will also add a significant cost to shippers’ transport transactions.