Ghana’s transit trade fortunes in West Africa dip
The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority says Ghana is losing significant revenue due to continued drop in transit trade between the country and her West African neighbours.
Officials attribute the trend, among others, to the introduction of axle load regulation which has seen shippers from the Sahel Region boycott Ghana’s ports over high cost.
Figures from the authority indicate Ghana lost about 50 percent of cargo trade with Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger from one million tons annually since 2009 to 500 thousand tons in 2014.
Shippers from the Sahel Region have seven port alternatives to the Ghana option.
They include Abidjan, Dakar, Conakry, Cotonou, Lagos, Lome and Nouakchott.
But almost all the decisions to choose any of the above over Ghana’s corridor has resulted in drastic reduction in transit trade.
Marketing and Public Relations Manager at GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, says Ghana paid the price in the country’s quest to maintain the integrity of her corridors.
He was addressing police regional commanders forum on transit trade organized in Kumasi by the Ghana Shippers Authority in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance.
“When we introduced the axle load policy implementation in 2009, it translated into higher cost of doing business on the corridor. Once that the competitive edge was no longer there in the sense that they couldn’t take as much as they were taken, they decided to shift the cargo to the other corridors. So we lost; we [Ghana] came down from about 900 to 1 million tones to just about 500,000 tonnes in a year. But of course, it’s a price we have to pay for our determination to protect the integrity of our corridor”.
Nhyira News checks reveal trade between Ghana and Mali, for instance, has ditched from 416 thousand tons in 2003 to about 27 thousand tons in 2014.
The situation with Niger and Burkina Faso is not different but recent intervention by Ghana Highways Authority and other stakeholders leading to talks with Burkinabe authorities seem to be yielding positive results, as the trend begins to pick up slowly.
Mr. Asare Ansah wants to see a lot of efforts put in to consolidate and resuscitate current trade between Mali whilst efforts are made to revive transit trade between Ghana, Mali and Niger.
He foresees more dire consequences for Ghana as some West African countries drag their feet in implantation of axle load regulations.