The director of Traffic Operations at the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) has said that the UNCTAD review of Maritime Transport 2011 has indicated that the world seaborne trade reached a tone of 8.4 billion in 2010, and that Africa alone accounts for 733 million tones.
Ousman Jobarteh was speaking during a day's validation workshop on the coastal shipping investment appraisal study report, held at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. He said this situation has given a positive outlook of recovery in the world economic situation and by extension, developments in international seaborne trade, despite contractions in 2009, which mainly resulted from sovereign debt problems in many developed countries.
Jobarteh informed the gathering that the investment appraisal for coastal shipping prepared on behalf of the GPA was conducted by the International Development Support Services (IDSS) and funded through the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) for trade related existence for least developed countries.
"GPA initially came up with a proposal for the development of an alternative transport mode for distributive trade in order to sustain and improve The Gambia's competitive advantage as a commercial centre, by using a cheaper and more efficient mode for linkages with trading partners within the sub-region and beyond," he stated.
He further highlighted the need to improve coastal shipping in both West and Central Africa, saying the establishment of the Commission Internationale du Bassin du Congo-Ouabangui-Sangha, under the auspices of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, was developed to improve the physical and regulation arrangements for inland navigation between Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.