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Boankra inland port, Ghana’s boost to hinterland connectivity.



The Ghana transport ministry recently announced that the government by the end of this year would partner a private sector investor to complete the Boankra inland port and finally link it to the Tema and Takoradi ports through the development of the eastern corridor rail way lines. The inland port which is situated in the middle belt of the country has for some time now faced a major challenge of effective linkage to the sea ports (Tema and Takoradi) hindering its effective utilization.  

With most existing rail lines in the country being a bit colonial biased, thus built purposely to serve the interest of colonial masters by linking mineral mining centers to the ports ,it became necessary for the country to redevelop existing lines and also develop new ones to serve modern purposes and address  current transportation challenges ,hence the development of the eastern corridor rail lines.

Many academic literatures as well as stakeholders and industry experts have all stressed the need to integrate port developments with investments in inland logistics in order to ensure effective hinterland connectivity in the Sub-region. The eventual completion and functioning of the Boankra inland port would therefore significantly improve hinterland connectivity with  other  benefits to the country.

    Firstly, the project could become a strategic tool to boosts transit trade . Landlocked countries who use the country’s ports would now only need to pick or drop their cargo at Boankra. This would save time and cost by reducing to a greater extent the long distances which would have been covered.

   To a large extent this project has the potential to reduce the number of cargo trucks that ply our roads daily some of which are the causes of  road carnage’s. This would be possible  because most cargo destined for the middle belt and landlocked countries would be moved by rails to and from the ports.

   Moving cargo by rails would adversely have an impact on the cost of transportation per container as the rails could transport more cargo per trip thereby benefiting from scale economics. The benefits of a reduced transportation cost would trickle down to the ordinary man on the street as it would certainly have a positive impact on the final prices of goods and commodities especially in the middle belt and northern part of the country which already is one of the deprived regions in the Ghana.

   Furthermore, the challenge of congestion at the nation’s ports especially Tema,  sometimes caused by containers waiting longer hours for customs clearance could be curtailed with a fully functional inland port. Customs clearances for cargo  (export and import) originating from or destined for the middle belt and landlocked countries could be performed at Boankra resulting in reduced work load on customs officers at the main ports while improving the congestion challenges as well.

   In addition , in this modern age of environmental consciousness (Green logistics), transporting more cargo per trip would reduce the amount of pollution caused to the environment per container, this would augur well for the country in the fight by all nations to preserve the environment

  The completion and effective utilization of the Boankra inland port would in no doubt improve inland logistics and ultimately improve supply chain efficiency which is much needed in the sub-region. Indeed hinterland connectivity has become a very important determinant for ports competitiveness as great ports like Antwerp in Belgium and Hamburg in Germany have been known to have effective hinterland connections.

    While mentioning the benefits of this project it is also necessary to stress the need for it’s early completion since the idea of an inland port at Boankra has been hatched for far too long. In Ghana, commissioning of the commencement of a project is one thing while the actual completion of the said project is another.

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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