Elevating Ghana’s Maritime Sector: A Blueprint for capacity building, research, awareness, and knowledge sharing


17 January 2024


Ghana's maritime domain is a vital contributor to the nation's economic fabric. As a key player in West Africa, Ghana's ports, shipping lines, and maritime activities are not just commercial enterprises but also gateways to international trade and development.

In the face of global changes and challenges, enhancing capacity building, research, awareness, and knowledge sharing in the maritime sector is essential for sustainable growth and competitiveness.

The Imperative of Capacity Building in Maritime Education and Training

The rapidly evolving global maritime sector underscores the critical need for a highly skilled maritime workforce in Ghana. Recognizing this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) emphasizes the importance of effective maritime training programs for ensuring safety, security, and efficiency in maritime transport.

Ghana's commitment to maritime education is evident through institutions like the Regional Maritime University (RMU), which offers specialized courses covering maritime administration, port and shipping management, maritime law, and environmental studies. However, a gap exists in aligning Ghana's maritime education with international standards and the latest industry trends.

The growing complexity of maritime operations, driven by advancements in smart shipping and automation, demands specialized skills in maritime technology, logistics, and environmental management. Enhancing maritime education in Ghana is crucial not only for maintaining a competitive edge in the global maritime industry but also for contributing to international maritime safety and sustainability.

The increase in port activities, with the Port of Tema handling over 1 million TEUs recently, further accentuates the necessity for a well-trained maritime workforce. Expanding educational opportunities, introducing new courses relevant to modern maritime needs, and aligning training programs with international best practices and technological advancements are essential steps. Additionally, developing the maritime sector's educational capacity aligns with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) goals, enabling Ghana to leverage efficient and secure maritime transport and logistics, enhance intra-African trade, and contribute to a unified market.

Advancements in Maritime Technology and Ghana's Response

The global maritime industry is rapidly evolving with advancements in technology. Automated port systems, sophisticated shipping logistics, and environmentally friendly practices are redefining the industry. As reported by the World Economic Forum, ports utilizing smart technologies have seen improvements in cargo handling efficiency by up to 30%. Ghana's maritime sector needs to embrace these technological advancements, from AI-driven port operations to green shipping practices, to remain competitive and sustainable.

Strengthening Research and Development for Maritime Security

Ghana’s maritime security strategy is crucial for protecting its waters and ports from various threats, including piracy. The International Maritime Bureau’s emphasis on robust security protocols and research underscores the need for Ghana to adopt advanced measures. Integral to these efforts are the protocols of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

Under the SOLAS Convention, Ghana has implemented several safety measures for ships, including regular safety equipment checks, ensuring ship stability, and fire protection systems. These measures are crucial for preventing accidents and ensuring safety at sea.

In line with the ISPS Code, Ghana has adopted stringent security protocols at its ports. These include establishing restricted areas, implementing rigorous identity checks, and conducting regular security assessments. These protocols help prevent unauthorized access and activities that could pose risks to ships and port facilities. To bolster these security measures, Ghana is now looking towards integrating AI-driven drone technology. These drones can significantly enhance maritime surveillance capabilities, providing a broader and more detailed view of maritime activities.

The drones, equipped with advanced sensors and real-time data processing, can monitor vast stretches of water, identify suspicious activities, and relay information swiftly to security personnel.

The use of AI-driven drones complements the existing drone deployment for maritime security. These sophisticated drones can operate continuously, covering larger areas with greater efficiency than conventional methods. Their ability to analyze data quickly enables prompt response to potential threats, such as piracy or illegal fishing activities.

Environmental Protection and Sustainability in Maritime Operations

Environmental sustainability is paramount in modern maritime operations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) emphasizes the need for sustainable practices to mitigate maritime pollution and protect marine biodiversity. Ghana can lead the way in implementing environmentally friendly shipping practices, waste management protocols, and adherence to international environmental regulations.

Promoting Public-Private Partnerships for Innovation and Growth

The role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in fostering innovation and growth in the maritime sector is undeniable. Such collaborations can unlock financial resources, introduce advanced technologies, and boost operational efficiencies.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) suggests that PPPs in ports can enhance cargo throughput and stimulate economic growth. In Ghana, encouraging PPPs in port development, shipbuilding, and maritime logistics can lead to significant economic benefits.

Creating a Knowledge-Sharing Platform for Stakeholder Engagement

Establishing a platform for knowledge sharing and stakeholder engagement is crucial for collective growth in Ghana's maritime sector. This involves regular dialogues, conferences, and workshops where industry experts, government representatives, and academic professionals can exchange ideas, discuss challenges, and explore solutions. Such platforms not only foster a collaborative environment but also ensure that policies and strategies are informed by diverse perspectives and expert insights.


As Ghana looks to the future, the maritime sector stands as a key driver of economic resilience and prosperity. By focusing on capacity building, embracing technological advancements, investing in research and development, prioritizing environmental sustainability, fostering public-private partnerships, and promoting knowledge sharing, Ghana can elevate its maritime sector to new heights.

The journey ahead is challenging, but with a strategic and collaborative approach, Ghana can emerge as a maritime leader in Africa and beyond.

About The Authors

Albert Derrick Fiatui is the Executive Director at the Centre for International Maritime Affairs, Ghana (CIMAG), an Advocacy, Research and Operational Policy Think-Tank, with focus on the Maritime Industry (Blue Economy) and general Ocean Governance. He is a Maritime Policy and Ocean Governance Expert. E-mail: albert@cimaghana.org.

David King Boison (Ph.D.) is a Senior Research Fellow and a Consultant at the Centre for International Maritime Affairs, Ghana (CIMAG). He is also a Senior lecturer, and Head of the Department for Procurement, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management at Ghana Communication and Technology University. E-mail: dboison@cimaghana.org.