Ecobank Ghana says it is commitment to offer innovative banking solutions to Ghana’s maritime sector, leveraging the bank’s robust technology and branch network in Ghana and across Africa.
At the Ecobank Shipping Forum which is the first of its kind in Ghana, the bank made the announcement as it provided businesses and individuals in the shipping sector unrivalled access to payments and other value-added services to position Ecobank as the one-stop shop for all cargo-related payments.
The Ecobank Shipping Forum held in Tema, aimed to play a vital role in raising awareness and helping stakeholders derive all the benefits of making shipping payments with Ecobank.
Delivering his speech at the forum, the Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Mr Dan Sackey said that the bank had strategically equipped six out of its 67 branches in the port cities of Tema and Takoradi to facilitate trade.
“As a financial partner that is committed to contributing to the economic development and the financial integration of the African continent, Ecobank has strategically equipped six out of its 67 branches in the port cities of Tema and Takoradi to facilitate trade, ”he noted.
Mr Sackey said that Ecobank Ghana over the years had been a pioneer in partnering with the Government of Ghana to facilitate trade by supporting its efforts in mobilising revenue through statutory collections.
“Ecobank is proud to announce that all statutory and shipping-related payments can be made at all of its 67 branches.
We have also provided you with the opportunity to pay conveniently, using our self-service digital channels, including Ecobank Mobile, for individual clients, and the bank’s business or corporate internet banking platforms- Omnilite and Omniplus, that serve business customers, ”he disclosed.
He added that the bank continued to support the ease of doing business at Ghana’s ports through its strategic partnerships with statutory collecting agencies, port operators and shipping lines.
“These efforts have impacted importers, exporters and their freight forwarders tremendously by facilitating the ease of conducting business at Ghana’s ports through the bank’s ‘One-Stop Shop Payment solutions.
This works to eliminate the challenges and risks associated with accessing different payment touchpoints to effect cargo-related payment obligations, ”he added.
He said the bank had provided an integrated Mobile Money solution to serve small transaction payments for selected cargo-related payments.
The Managing Director further acknowledged the many challenges the maritime sector was facing as a result of the changes in the global economy, particularly, Ghana’s economic challenges resulting in the Debt Exchange Programme; hence, the need to profess solutions as a financial partner in the maritime sector.
“Today, freight forwarders face issues such as inflation, trade wars, sanctions, and the rising cost of shipping. To lighten these burdens, Ecobank Ghana is also complementing your efforts by offering Smart Financing Solutions that provide quick access to working capital and asset finance solutions at competitive rates and on flexible terms for qualifying clients, ”he announced.
He mentioned that these solutions would address liquidity gaps that had traditionally been a challenge for some freight forwarders and logistics clients and improve turnaround time for cargo handling.
He again noted that the introduction of Smart Financing Solutions would reduce avoidable costs associated with cargo handling and facilitate the ease of doing business at Ghana’s ports.
“These solutions would support the ability of key maritime players in the industry, including statutory collecting agencies, port or terminal operators and shipping lines, to collect payments for their services with ease and on a time”, he noted.
Mr Dan Sackey said Ghana’s digital readiness was making the country an attractive hub for the commercial logistics sector of Africa as domestic and international logistics providers, freight forwarders, air and ocean carriers, express shipment companies, and distributors continued to establish their presence in Ghana.
He added that the Covid-19 pandemic and its related issues created the platform for shipping and logistics companies in Ghana to demonstrate the important roles they played in ensuring the timely delivery of vital medical and humanitarian supplies and other goods across nations.
Thus, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), he said, was expected to increase cross-border trade within Africa, creating more opportunities for commercial shipping.
“Ghana’s Atlantic ports and airports – along with its experience and growing digital readiness positions our country well to become a logistics hub for intra-African trade.
We have put in place measures to support all players in your industry to make the AfCFTA initiative beneficial to your businesses.
The bank recently launched the Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub to help businesses take advantage of the trading opportunities that AfCFTA offers, by providing a trade hub, which connects importers and exporters across Africa to trade their goods and services in new markets, ”he said.
He said that the adoption of technology was the leading driver of growth for logistics companies in emerging markets, creating an opportunity for institutions such as Ecobank Ghana to partner with the players and provide the needed support to propel this soaring growth in the sector.
He informed that Ghana was ranked 32 overall, a rise of eight positions, by the 2022 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, which was compiled by the logistics industry analysis and research firm, Transport Intelligence (TI).
“This was the greatest improvement in the overall rankings among all countries. Ghana, thus, ranked fifth on the African continent for logistics after Morocco (20th), Egypt (21st), South Africa (24th) and Kenya (28th). Ghana scored particularly high in digital readiness (5.14).
Many logistics providers and investors are attracted by the extent to which Ghana has integrated technology into the cross-border movements of goods, ” he said.