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Process to develop national maritime policy begins

By: Maclean Kwofi
Participants in the workshop
Participants in the workshop

Players in the maritime business have been given the opportunity to contribute to the development of a national maritime transport policy (NMTP).
At the three-day workshop in Accra, under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and World Maritime University (WMU), the platform offered players in the industry to dialogue and develop a strong maritime policy document off the national transport policy.

Opened on March 13, 2019, the event brought together representatives from IMO, Ghana Maritime Organisation (GMO), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) and other private sector players.
The First Deputy Director General of the GMA, Mr Daniel Appianin, in his welcome address at the opening, underscored the need for the country to adopt long-term structures that would harness the full potential of Ghana’s maritime industry.
He observed that it was estimated that over 90 per cent of the total world’s trade was carried by sea and that it was the most effective way of transporting goods and raw materials from one country to the other.
He said the shipping industry was undoubtedly the driving force of many economies, making it imperative for the government and institutions alike to formulate policies that would position the industry to derive more revenues for economic development.
“We cannot forget about the fact that maritime transport is key, especially when it comes to the importation of goods and services. So it is time for the country to focus on improving the existing maritime transport policies so that we can improve upon trade and business, especially on our seas and other river bodies,” he said.

Time to develop NMTP
The acting Chief Subdivision for Programme Management and Coordination Technical Cooperation Division of the IMO, Mr Jonathan Pace, indicated that the time for a national maritime transport policy was long overdue.
He asked participants to help develop a comprehensive maritime transport policy as soon as possible to streamline activities in the industry.
He stated that maritime transportation was an essential component of any programme for sustainable development because the world relied on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry. 
With this in mind, the IMO developed a concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System with a view to providing a blueprint for countries to develop their maritime transport infrastructure in an efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally sound manner in keeping with the global process to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Within this comprehensive framework and a new approach to the delivery of technical assistance, the IMO also introduced the concept of providing assistance for its member states in the formulation and development of national maritime transport policies (NMTPs), thus strengthening the maritime capacities and contributing to the achievement of the SDGs adopted in 2015.
Moreover, NMTPs are also complementary to the concept of the ‘Blue Economy’ which is closely associated with sustainable development and Small Island Developing States (SIDs).
A NMTP is a statement of principles and objectives to guide decisions in the maritime transport sector with a view to achieving the maritime vision of a country and ensuring that the sector is governed in an efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally sound manner.

GMA, IMO commended
A Director of the Ministry of Transport (MoT), Mrs Mabel Sagoe, who represented the minister of transport, commended the GMA and IMO for their contribution towards the organisation of the workshop.
According to her, the maritime sector had been a major contributor to the country’s development agenda and its trade relations to the international community.
“Globally, the maritime sector has facilitated trade between countries and has subsequently contributed significantly to the socioeconomic development of these countries,” she added.