GPA validates Coastal Shipping Investment Appraisal study report
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), in collaboration with stakeholders such as Enhance Integrated Framework (EIF), Monday convened a daylong workshop to validate the study report on the Coastal Shipping Investment Appraisal (CSIA), at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
The aim of the study is to develop an appropriate commercially viable business model suitable to make optional use of coastal waters and providing sea transportation services in the sub-region. The workshop brought together participants from within the sub-region with an ultimate view to enhance and improve the use of coastal shipping on a more sustainable basis.
The validation workshop followed a comprehensive study conducted by the GPA in 2009 in the sub-region aimed at determining the evolution of shipping traffic, direction of regional and international trade. It highlighted other economic and trade issues necessary for the revival of the sub-regional trade through coastal shipping, among others.
opening remarks, Naffie Barry, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade,
Employment & Regional Integration, outlined the need for this study
featured in the findings of the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) and
concluded in the years 2007, which was later approved by cabinet in the same
year. She said that the DTIS, which was conducted by the World Bank, was highly
consultative throughout its process and culminated in a final stakeholder
“This serves as a basis for The Gambia to qualify and benefit from trade-related technical assistance delivery in partnership with the development cooperation community, hence the setting up of an enhanced integration framework national implementation unit at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment,” she stated.
she added, is the second of the three broad stages of the implementation of the
Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), endorsed by the ministers at the WTO
during the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in December 2005.
Dilating on the other two constituents of the EIF, PS Barry indicated that it would provide increased, predictable and additional funding on the multi-year basis and to improve the EIF decision-making and management structure to ensure effective and timely delivery of the increased financial resources and programmes. “This is to ensure that the aims of the EIF in creating a genuine partnership among all EIF stakeholders and to drive the EIF as an aid for trade programme to be achieved,” she further stated.
Further commenting on the importance of the EIF, PS Barry said that it was designed to implement Tier 1, which aims to build in-country capacity, assist in the implementation of the DTIS Action Matrix and facilitate the mainstreaming of trade in the PAGE. She said that a lot has been achieved in the area of strengthening in-country capacity as it relates to the strengthening of trade institutions and the formulation of a National Policy and Medium Term Programme.
Ousman Jobarteh, who spoke on behalf of themanaging director of GPA, noted that the development of coastal shipping will represent an important alternative to road and rail transport for the Ecowas sub-region with a population of more than US$250 million and an annual trade valued at more than US$500 billion in relation to the World Bank statistics report.
Dilating on the commitment of the GPA, Jobarteh said the Authority has always been committed to the development of coastal shipping projects in West Africa. He recalled that in the year 2009, GPA constituted an expert working group to undertake a comprehensive survey by means of a study tour in the sub-region, with a view to determine the economic viability of coastal shipping in terms of the volume of cargo available for regional and international trade and trade facilitation activities and structure in existence, in order to boost regional trade.
On the results of the study, Jobarteh said that it revealed positive findings, which prompted the GPA management to seek for funding through the EIF facility to carry out an investment appraisal in order to determine the viability of establishing a coastal shipping line to operate along the coast of West and Central Africa.
He continued: “Given the poor state of the road infrastructure networks that link sub-regional countries coupled with numerous securities and municipal checkpoints, the lack of adequate haulage companies to provide road worthy vehicles to Interstate Road Transit (ISRT), requirements and reluctance in the full implementation of the Ecowas protocol on the free movement of goods and services, coastal shipping therefore becomes the ultimate option to cross-border road transportation.”
Highlighting the challenges, Jobarteh stressed that coastal shipping also poses challenges for effective competitiveness, which includes ship charges in ports, shore handling charges at warehouses and loading or discharging ports among other in Africa. He added: “The GPA will endeavour to provide the conducive environment for the efficient operation of coastal shipping such as; provision of cargo handling equipment to cater for gearless vessels, concession in port charges as already provided for in the port tariff, rehabilitation and construction of jetties and landing facilities along the river and also priority berthing facility for coastal ships.”
Jobe, the coordinator of EIF, highlighted the significance of the study, saying
it is meant to develop an appropriate commercially viable business model to
make optional use of the coastal waters that seeks to provide easy sea
transportation services within the region.
He expressed optimism that successful coastal shipping would offer an opportunity to add value to the national transportation network and thus increase economic efficiency and ultimately societal standard of living. “These benefits will hopefully accrue when the coastal shipping programme is implemented and addresses the myriad of issues inherent in our transportation infrastructure network,” he stated.
Jobe finally underlined that the critical success factor for having coastal shipping is that it facilitates cargo movement as an inexpensive, faultless component of an integrated intermodal transportation system and taking advantage of the efficiency of the GPA to further strengthens competitiveness as a transit hub to the sub-region.
Author: Bekai Njie