The Association of Maritime Professionals has expressed its resolve to pursue the revamping of the country’s Shipping Line, the Black Star Line, in order to facilitate economic growth.
The Association contends it will pin down factors including the lack of commitment by successive governments that led to the collapse of the company.
Addressing a press conference in Tema, the first vice President of the Association, Engineer Teddy Mensah said it is important government to focus on a complete development of the maritime sector as it benefits are enormous.
“Much as we appreciate the desire of government to try to revamp the national shipping line and the dry dock, we like the proverbial Oliver Twist will ask for more… our appeal to government is that the desire should translate into a mission and a vision to achieve the ultimate for the betterment of the maritime industry in Ghana and the realization of the socio-economic benefits it brings,” he stated.
According to the farers, “The benefits to Ghana will include; multifaceted economic gains, job creation, wealth creation, improved GDP; international recognition improved livelihood of the Ghanaian especially the impoverished communities along the Volta River as well as the realization of the dreams of the Founding fathers of this nation,” Teddy Mensah stated.
President John Dramani Mahama recently indicated that government was working to re-introduce the national shipping line as part of efforts to maximize the potential of the port expansion projects currently underway in the country.
The Black Star Line established shortly after independence in 1957, became the first national shipping line formed as part of other development vehicles bankrolled by the state as a statement of national empowerment in marine trade alongside other projects such as the Tema and Takoradi ports, the Tema Shipyard and Dry Dock Company, the Regional Maritime University (RMU) and the State Fishing Corporation.
But the idea behind the birth of the Black Star Line to spearhead the maximization of resources in the shipping and marine sector was cut short when the vessel became defunct due to, among others, government’s interference in the operation of vessels, poor management and marketing strategies as well as the lack of innovation and biased cargo agents selling to foreign carriers for personal gains, among others.