A conference for young maritime entrepreneurs has been held at the Regional Maritime University (RMU) at Nungua with a call on personnel to reposition themselves to take advantage of opportunities when the Tema Port expansion project becomes operational in June this year.
Instead of job cuts, resource persons at the conference who made the call observed that the new port presented a huge potential that young entrepreneurs could leverage and be gainfully employed.
On the theme: "The Tema Port Expansion: Threats and Opportunities Deconstructed", the conference, which is the first in a series, is an initiative of the Masser Afrique.
Masser Afrique is a Ghana-based company formed by an alliance of maritime professionals with diverse skills committed to supporting the industry.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Masser Afrique, Mr Jeffrey Botchway, in an interview with the Graphic Business at the conference on March 30 indicated that instead of job cuts, the new port presented huge opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
"Although there has been concerns about an impending threat of job losses when the facility become operational, we believe there are also opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage and be employed," he said.
Given that the US$1.5 billion facility presents an opportunity for technological changes, he said this showed that players in the industry needed to reposition their minds to benefit.
He urged participants at the conference who were mainly students of the RMU to consistently build their capacities and skills through workshops, seminars and attachment placements.
Building capacities, he said, would help them to position themselves properly to benefit from the new facility.
A brand expert from the United Kingdom (UK), Ms Brenda Anang-Tagoe, asked participants to build strong corporate brands.
According to her, building strong brands would position the young entrepreneurs well in order to penetrate the job market and compete well with peers.
She explained that one major reason Ghanaian graduates continuously found it difficult to penetrate the job market was that they do not have strong brand.
To build strong brands, she added that young entrepreneurs needed to identify their strengths and develop them in order to be better.
In a response to a question on whether Ghana qualify to be a port hub, a senior lecturer of the RMU, Dr George VanDyck explained that the country was gradually moving towards becoming a port hub in the West Africa sub-region when the new port become operational.
He further explained that it was the shipping lines that determined whether to use a country's port as a hub or not.
“A port does not select itself as a hub, it is the shipping line that select a port as it hub within a particular area and so what a port authority does is to position itself to be used as a hub.
"Based on a study I conducted recently: one of the reasons Ghana is getting more investment in the maritime industry is because it is a stable country," he added.