The Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG) has marked its 30th anniversary and renewed commitment to work with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that the country's maritime industry remains competitive and attractive to shipping lines.
The association, which was founded in 1993, represents shipping lines operating in Ghana. It has played a key role in the development of the country's maritime industry, and continues to be a strong advocate for the interests of its members.
Representatives from the maritime trade sectors including a number of dignitaries, from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, and representatives of shipping lines operating in Ghana, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and key players attended the event.
Speaking at a dinner event to mark the celebrations, the Executive Secretary of the association, Perpetual Osei-Bonsu, said that the association would continue to work to raise awareness of the importance of the maritime industry to the country’s economy.
Addressing the theme: “Celebrating 30 Years of Collaboration:
The SOAAG Story, she said over the past three decades, SOAAG members had made significant contributions to the country's maritime business and excelled as the foundation of the country's international trade.
Ms Osei-Bonsu highlighted that the operations of members of the association had a profound impact on the local economy, generating employment opportunities and contributing to the country's revenue through tax payments.
The Executive Secretary also acknowledged the challenges faced by the industry which ranged from fuel cost, labour, and increasing insurance premiums.
She said those factors had put pressure on shipping companies' profits while political instability in key shipping lanes had caused some level of disruption to trade and impacting many economies.
The General Manager in charge of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the GPHA, Esther Gyebi-Donkor, in a solidarity message challenged members of the association to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and work together to help reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
An executive member of SOAAG, Adam Imoru Ayarna, in his welcome remarks, noted that whereas there had been difficult moments within the shipping trade front, members of the association had always opted for dialogue and negotiations which had been mutually beneficial.
“Indeed, the mutual cooperation existing between us and our stakeholders has lent support to the continuous growth of the industry and we must continue to foster the spirit of goodwill,” he said.
SOAAG and its members, Mr Ayarna said, would count on the cordial relationship in the years ahead as they collectively worked to position the country as the maritime and trade hub of West Africa.