After just weeks of stepping down as the Chairman of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Legal Committee in London, Dr. Kofi Mbiah, has gracefully bowed out as the Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority after 35 years of service to the Authority and to mother Ghana.
Dr. Mbiah first announced his retirement when he addressed the 11th Maritime Law Seminar for Judges of the Superior Courts of Ghana in November 18, 2016.
Dr. Mbiah started his working career at Ghana Shippers’ Authority in 1982 as an Assistant Legal Officer and rose through the ranks to become the Chief Executive Officer in 1999, making him the longest serving CEO of the Authority.
As helmsman at the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, working together with his able management and staff, he has been able to accomplish great feats for the Authority. There are a number of tangible as well as intangible achievements that have been realized during the period, including but not limited to the following:
- The building of a robust corporate culture, unparalleled motivation of staff for increased output, improved staff welfare and a high staff morale.2. The crafting of the vision, mission and organizational values of the Authority as well as four 5-yearly strategic plans. These have ensured that the Authority has journeyed on a clearly defined path in ensuring the strengthening of its structures for delivering on its mandate of protecting and promoting the interests of shippers in Ghana.
3. Improved staff training and the development of capacity of staff in various fields of endeavour.
4. The construction of a US$16.5 million multipurpose office complex – the Ghana Shippers House – located at No 12 Cruick shank Street, Ambassadorial Enclave, West Ridge in Accra which houses the Head Office to the Authority and is also expected to be a one-stop shop for shipping and related service providers. The facility is also expected to be rallying point for shippers of Ghana, transit shippers and all stakeholders in the trade and transport industry and indeed shippers in West and Central Africa for that matter.
5. The expansion of the activities of the Authority to all the ten Regions of the country, by virtue of its Shipper Committee concept and as well as the establishment of Shipper Complaints and Support Units at key entry/border points such as Aflao, Elubo, Paga, Takoradi Port and the Kotoka International Airport.
6. The development of seven large warehousing facilities close to the Port of Tema for use by shippers
7. A 10% shareholding in the Ghana Community Network (GCNet) Company Limited – an electronic platform for the expedited clearance of cargo from the ports
8. Institutionalization of Maritime Law Seminar for Judges in Ghana, Maritime Law and International Trade Seminar for the Trade and Transport Industry and the annual Maritime Seminar for Media Personnel.
9. The compilation of The Admiral – A Compendium, which consolidates all the papers delivered at the maritime law seminars for judges of the superior courts over a decade.
10. The development of various programmes in furtherance of the protection and promotion of the interests of shippers to make them competitive in the maritime transport and logistics chain. Some of these include; the Mobiship, radio sensitization programmes such as Tit Bits for Shippers, Shippers Alerts, the Shippers App, Notices to Shippers etc.
11. The construction of the Takoradi Logistics Platform at Funko for the Oil and Gas Industry on a PPP basis. Phase one of the project provides two (2) – 20,000 square feet capacity warehouses and 1,200 square feet of office space.
12. The acquisition of a 400-acre land for the Boankra Inland Port Project and the construction of an Administrative Block (Boankra Shippers Centre)
During his leadership the Authority has acquired lands for future development in the Central, Greater Accra, Western, Ashanti and Northern Regions for future projects.
In his role as Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, Dr. Mbiah also represented Ghana at a number of Diplomatic Conferences for the adoption of Maritime Transport Instruments.
For over two decades he led Ghana’s delegation to the sessions of the Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organization; serving as vice chairman of the Legal Committee for over 10 years and Chairman for six years.He was the first black man to hold the position.
He contributed immensely to the development of various international maritime instruments, key among which is the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by SSDead (Yoter (Rotterdam Rules).
Dr.Mbiah has also made significant contributions to the development of shipping in the West African Sub-region. As chairman of the Union of African Shippers Councils and working with the Global Shippers Forum, he has been instrumental in dealing with a number of challenges facing Shippers in the region.
Since 2006, Dr. Mbiah has been a visiting professor at the World Maritime and Lund Universities in Malmo, Sweden and was also recently appointed by the IMO Secretary General as a Member of the Board International Maritime Law Institute of the IMO in Malta.
Over the period, Dr.Mbiah led the Authority to achievea number of awards including Award for its contribution towards Marine & Freight Industry (2001), The Most Innovative Shippers Organisation in Africa for the Year 2002, Third Prize for the Best Managed Shippers’ Council in Africa (2004), Best Maritime Agency in Trade Facilitation in West Africa for the Year 2007, The Most Innovative Shippers’ Council in West Africa for the Year 2008, Best Agency in Trade Facilitation in Africa for the Year 2010, International Quality Crown Award -Gold Category (2012), Best Agency in Trade Facilitation in Africa for the Year 2013 and Ghana Development Awards – Maritime Industry Category (2016).
Dr. Mbiah in his personal capacity also received several awards as a beacon of excellence and for his commitment and dedication to duty at both national and international levels. These include:
The IMLI Graduate International Achievement Award – in recognition of his steadfast contribution to the work of the International Maritime Community, particularly, his dedicated service to the IMO Legal Committee.
Honour for distinguished service to the work of the International Maritime Organisation
The Africa Maritime and Energy Personality of the year 2012 award – in acknowledgment of his immense contribution to the development of the Maritime Sector in Africa and on the international scene.
Top Five inspirational public sector leaders in Ghana for 2012 – in recognition of his leadership attributes that have driven innovation and continuous improvement in the Authority’s operations to the benefit of shippers as well as the immense contribution to the development of the Maritime Industry in Ghana
The African Maritime and Energy (AME) Evergreen Award for 2014 – in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the development of the Maritime Sector not only in Ghana and Africa but also on the international scene
National Achievers Award given by the Northern Youth for Peace and Development (NYUPED) – in recognition of his tremendous strides for the establishment of a GSA office in the Tamale as well as the establishment of a Shipper Complaints and support Unit in Paga to support Import and Export businesses in the three Northern Regions.
The foregoing testifies to the invaluable services that Dr. Mbiah has provided to the Authority in the past thirty-five years. He has been one of the most devoted and hardworking individuals that the Authority has had the benefit of engaging, in its 43 years of existence.
Dr. Mbiah will be replaced by Ms.Benonita Bismarck, a Strategic Planner and Management Consultant with experience in the shipping industry as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority.