By Mama A. Touray
The Managing Director of Gambia Ports Authority, Ousman Jobarteh said the maritime transport accounts more than eighty percent 80% of trade and exchange of goods globally.
He made this remark last week during the ports management association of West and Central Africa board of directors meeting.
MD Jobarteh said “It remains incontrovertible that maritime transport accounts for more than 80% of trade and the exchange of goods between countries globally.”
Jobarteh added that Global maritime transport continues to experience unprecedented changes, which poses increasing demands for ports and logistics services providers to improve performance and lower overall costs along the whole value chain.
According to MD Jobarteh these challenges are becoming more prevalent with evolving circumstances globally such as recovery in the main markets (China and the US) post Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, access to capital for infrastructural development, environmental impact and climate resilience, safety and security, digitalization, and port community relationships.
He explained that according to the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2021, global economic output fell by 3.5% in 2020 and international maritime shipments fell by 3.8%, to 10.65 billion tons from more than 12 billion tons the previous year.
However, he said the projections were that world maritime trade will recover by 4.3% by December 2022 and the growth is expected to continue for the next 4 to 5 years, albeit at rates that will be moderated by the easing in world economic output, and out of these global trade volumes, Africa accounts for about 9% and is expected to grow by up to 4% over the coming years.
Jobarteh also told the board of directors that one aspect that has affected global maritime trade was the recent surge in freight rates between 2020 and 2022, which he said according to statistics, increased global import price levels by 11% and consumer price levels by 1.5%.
This he said has resulted in increased consumer prices for basic commodities, further aggravated by the volatility in the price of Brent crude oil per barrel, which has also increased by more than 45%.
MD Jobarteh however said it may be prudent at this stage to call upon the Board of Directors to engage the Association to share experience and best practice to address common issues confronting ports in our sub region, with particular emphasis on harnessing the potential of West and Central Africa, which is an emerging market with strong and real growth potentials.