Policy to inject professionalism into shipping industry in the offing

•   Keeping standards in the shipping industry will enhance prospects of business success.

• Keeping standards in the shipping industry will enhance prospects of business success.

Government is to set up modalities to compel ship-ping companies to introduce a training regime which would ensure that their local staffs gain professional qualifications in shipping.

“Maintenance of professional standards in the maritime industry has been one of the hallmarks of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS), over the 100 years of its existence.

“In our part of the world, this essential ingredient is often times not exhibited as is expected, therefore Ghana is considering a policy to inject professionalism into the industry,” Mrs. Dzifa Aku Attivor, Minister of Transport stated in Accra.

Mrs Attivor was speaking at the fifth anniversary of the West Africa branch of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) on the general theme: “Promoting professionalism in the shipping industry — the role of the ICS”.

In attendance at the event were the International Chairman for ICS, Richard Brook-Hart; Dr. Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority; Mr. Jacob Adorkor, the Director of the Port of Tema; and Mr. Emmanuel Martey, the former Deputy CEO of Ghana Shippers’ Authority, who chaired the function.

Others were members and fellows of the West Africa Branch of ICS, Chief Executives and Managing Directors of Maritime Organisations, the National Presidents of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT).

The rest included Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), representatives of Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), the Regional Maritime University (RMU), University of Cape Coast and some Importers and Exporters.

Mrs Attivor noted that obtaining internationally recognised professional qualifications that promoted ethical practices and acceptable standards of service in the workplace, enhanced the prospects of business success and generated benefits for the entire industry.

The Transport Minister, therefore, urged the ICS to continue to pursue a vigorous membership drive among employees of ship owners, ship managers, ship agents, freight forwarders, port authorities, insurance brokers and other maritime organisations within the sub-region.

Considering the wide coverage of the ICS’ objectives, a membership drive will help promote the ideals of the Institute to more industry players and thus enhance the appreciation of professional standards by these stakeholder organisations.

“There is no gainsaying that our ports are experiencing operational challenges which have resulted in costly delays and impeded the clearance of goods.

“A recent study in Ghana indicated that over 80 per cent of importers of liner cargo pay demurrage and associated charges, but this is unacceptable.

“It is an avowed commitment of the government of Ghana to deal with the multiplicity of charges, the attendant delays and the general unacceptable standards of service delivery at its seaports,” she said.

Mrs Attivor said steps were already in place for the appropriate agencies to seek to reverse the current trends.

“Suffice to say, that similar conditions prevail at the seaports of our sister countries in the sub-region. Consequently, our governments would seek to partner with professional associations like the ICS to improve service standards especially through training and retraining of human resource — both for those involved in direct cargo handling and those involved with cargo interests.

On our part as government, we shall continue to create the enabling environment for all in the shipping fraternity to pursue their legitimate goals for the betterment of our economies and our people,” she said.

In his remarks, Mr. Martey noted that it was important to indicate that the concept of professionalism required within the shipping industry is not only about the skills, knowledge and expertise, but also trustworthiness.

“The true professional does not only possess skill and knowledge but is also disciplined in moral excellence.

“This is the call that the Institute makes on all its members and potential members, that we would become the change this industry needs and to truly reflect its mission statement of setting the highest standards of professional service to the shipping industry worldwide through education and example,” he said.

Mr. Martey said, it was therefore only appropriate that a solid skilled manpower base was established to ensure our continued meaningful participation in the industry.

He said a professional body such as ICS could provide assurance that the staff had been educated to a professional standard and through membership would continue to maintain high standards of professional knowledge and ethical behaviour.

“A way to raise standards is to encourage as many relevant shore based managers as possible to become fully qualified professionals.

“Because shipping operates internationally, these managers could subscribe to a common worldwide standard of professional competence and conduct,” he stated. —GNA

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