Saturday, November 6, 2010

West and Central Africa Holds Annual Port Management Meetin



Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) Annual Council Meeting of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) opened
in Banjul.

The meeting, aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of ports around the two regions, came at a time when the world maritime industry is faced with numerous maritime security and safety like piracy, armed robbery and other unlawful acts against ships.

The Gulf of Guinea is said to pose a serious challenge to maritime and port organisations in Africa, ANA report from here today Tuesday.


Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure Dr. Ngou Bah noted that the ports have a crucial role to play in economic and social transformation.

He recalled that ports were regarded merely as interface points for the transfer of cargoes delivered from surface to sea or vice versa until the late 1960s.

However, he said with advances in technology, the need to ensure that port operation are expanded to meet the changing demand and realities of trade and commerce, this
static notion has changed.

“Governments of our respective countries continue to expand opportunities that would allow our ports to venture into value-added activities and services within the global
supply chain network for goods and services,” he said.

According to him, it is without doubt that during the course of the last three decades, the shipping industry has experienced unprecedented changes. An important area
of such change is containerization, which has transformed the nature of
maritime trade worldwide.

He also pointed out other important change including the trend, with which world trade has been growing, increased level of public-private partnerships by way
of mergers, acquisitions and concessions, and increased competition involving
major suppliers of goods around the world.

He said these have been motivating factors demanding that our port authorities continually go for expanded investments in port infrastructure and facilities
in order ensure that services to the customers are speedily delivered, and are
reliable and cost-effective.

He urges port managers to continually devise new policies and strategies that would ensure objectives of cost, timeliness and reliability of port services are
realized.

“The Gambia has never been complacent in pursuing this goal. With an open door trade
policy, and in our aspiration to enhance our trade competitiveness, which
cannot be realized without an efficient port, the government has succeeded in
developing a port development master plan,” he revealed.

In the not-too distant future, the port of Banjul would be
expanded physically, and would be transformed to become a major hub for
international trade in cargoes and other vital trade related services, he
added.

The Secretary General of MOWCA, Magnus Teye Addico noted that Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa has responded with the establishment of the Regional
Coastguard Network project in collaboration with the International Maritime
Organisation.

He said MOWCA will be holding a round table of stakeholders and development partners to discuss practical issues relation to the establishment of four
Coastguard centres in Africa in Dakar, Abidjan, Lagos and Pointe
Noire; and two principal coastguard centers in Accra
and Luanda. Vol:2 Issn:177

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