Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has held a stakeholder meeting for the trade and transport industry, haulage owners, truck drivers, and owners of transit companies.
Ms Benonita Bismarck, GSA Chief Executive Officer, said there had been reports of robberies and attacks on truck drivers by persons and groups believed to be insurgents.
She noted that the most recent attack happened on the April 29th when some armed men attacked a convoy of Senegalese trucks loaded with 350 tonnes of goods on route to Senegal from Niger from the Niger-Burkina Faso Border at Nari on the Dorikaya axis in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso.
She added that ‘a total of 19 truck drivers were held hostage and later released.’
She again stated that these unfortunate activities had led to the destruction of goods, damage to properties, and, in some cases, the loss of lives.
She said, ‘The lives of drivers remain a priority; therefore, all stakeholders must work together to ensure the safety of lives during the transit of cargo.’
Ms Bismarck noted that in view of the increasing reports of attacks, especially along the Dorikaya route, the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Transport had directed that all haulage owners and drivers in Ghana should consider the alternative route via the Northern Togo of Benin when travelling to the Sahel region.
She urged all stakeholders to adhere to these directives to ensure the safety of lives and properties until the issues are resolved.
She also called on the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to work together with the importers and their agents to ensure timely approval of the request for a change of routes to avoid delays for drivers and their consignments.
Mr. Peter Ofori Antobrah, Assistant Commission of Transit at the Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs Division, stated that, if some truck drivers were experiencing terrorist attacks and other armed insurgences, the customs division was ready to change routes for these drivers should they hear of any insurgence along their routes.
‘Although the journey may be longer should they change their routes, it may be the safest for them and their consignments,’ he added.
He noted that these actions might not curb these attacks totally, but there were some measures, such as the ‘see something, say something’ initiative, that have been put in place to help reduce such incidents, noting that residents along these borders have also been engaged to report any suspicious activities.
He, therefore, urged all stakeholders and truck drivers to reach out to the customs division if they want to change their routes and added that they would not be charged should they apply to change routes.
He also advised haulage owners and drivers, especially that when a route was designated for them, they must follow and adhere to it because there were systems that check their movements.
Mr Benjamin Blay of ICOMS Consult also assured traders, haulage owners, transporters, and other stakeholders that the consulting firm would provide the support needed to ensure free transit.
He also noted that the consultant was working with the management of customs and neighbouring countries to facilitate the modification systems needed for re-routing cargo and transit.
Source: Ghana News Agency