Prince Bagnaba Mba, president of Forum for National Equity, a think tank, has called for the restoration of the Black Star Line (BSL) to facilitate transport of goods from Ghana to other countries.
He said a couple of decades ago, Ghana used to own its own vessels through the national shipping line, the Black Star Line, but it could not stand the test of time due to operational challenges.
Mr Mba, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra, said Ghana had ‘what it takes to build and manage vessels for the benefit of Ghanaians.
He noted the country could produce vessels through technical partnership with other countries, using the Tema shipyard and dry-dock as a manufacturing centre.
With increase in cocoa production, cashew and recent discovery of oil, Mr Mba said the maritime industry offered a huge prospect for Ghana’s economic emancipation.
Mr Mba noted that Ghana produces competent mariners and port administrators, operating in other parts of the world.
He said that the Maritime University and many regulatory bodies in industry including National Maritime Authority in Ghana, could support the training of personnel and running of a viable maritime sector.
Mr Mba underscored the need to pay attention to increased activities in the maritime sector as Ghana is now the headquarters of African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
He said BSL had historical connotation to Ghana as it was started by Marcus Garvey, a black American freedom fighter, to repatriate blacks willing to return to Africa.
He said a revitalised BSL would create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth and attract tourists.
Mr Mba aid the closure of the Nigeria-Benin border that is impeding free flow of goods and services would not be a concern if Ghana had an efficient maritime transport sector.
He recalled that the BSL owned lots of vessels that embarked upon regular sailing schedules around the world.
Mr Mba said in the late 70s, the BSL owned top 16,000 tonner vessels that used to export goods like cocoa from the Tema port to other countries.
The maritime sector had been considered as one of the safest, fastest and cheapest means of transporting goods.
Most advanced economies across the globe continue to link the various sectors of transport – aviation, rail, maritime and road to facilitate movement of goods and services.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA