TITLE cargoes from the smaller ports and vice versa.

TITLE

An Assessment of Feeder Vessel Operation in Ghana-The
case of African Independent Feeder Ghana Limited

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INTRODUCTION

From
the beginning of containerization, it was commonly believed that shuttle
operations could decrease the cost of container liners (McKinsey, 1967). The
required shuttle transportation could be executed by road, rail and sea feeder
service modes depending on specific situations. Rail service could be an
effective inland transportation mode as long as distance, volume and geographic
conditions were appreciable. Road transportation mode could be selected in low
volume short distance cases where rail service was not provided and also for
the fulfillment of door-to-door services and sea feeder service could be
preferred on relatively long distances where geographically appreciable demand
existed (Jansson and Shneerson 1982).

A
feeder service has been defined by the American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) glossary as “a transportation operation
in which cargoes are shipped by water in smaller vessels to and from a
load-center port for loading or unloading respectively from ocean going
vessel”. Most shipping lines have a sailing schedule before their vessel sets
off to sea, and the size of most of these vessels do not permit them to call
some of the smaller ports in the world. For instance most vessels call port
Klang, Malaysia’s busiest port to redistribute their cargoes to the other parts
of the world especially for Africa (Tamadan 2007). These cargoes are
transshipped by other smaller vessels suitable for the quantity of cargoes to
carry to their final destination points. There are other lines which call a
particular country but may not call all the ports in that country; hence the
cargoes are discharged at that country’s main or largest port to be
transshipped to the other ports.

There
is therefore the need for vessels that will feed larger ocean going vessels
with cargoes from the smaller ports and vice versa.

Ghana
has 539 km coastline and two deep artificial harbours, one at Tema and the
other located at Takoradi. The two seaports, Tema and Takoradi have sea
distance of 104 nautical miles (nm) between them. Practically all the seaborne
trade of Ghana is done through them (Pedersen, 2001).

BACKGROUND

The
operation of a feeder service in Ghana is an idea which many stakeholders and
individuals in the country take a crucial interest in. It is a very important
issue as far as transportation in the country is concerned. There is little
development in the country’s laws and regulations with regards to feeder
operation within the country. A company has taken interest in feeder operation
in Ghana which signifies a great development in the country’s transportation
system. The stakeholders and operators of the African Independent Feeder Ghana
Limited (AIFEEDER) have become aware of the possibility of the market
opportunities for container feeder service in Ghana and is therefore the only
provider of such service hence prides itself as the only indigenous coastal
service provider in Ghana.

In
Ghana, there are two ports namely the Tema and Takoradi Ports which facilitates
the country’s sea borne trade (GPHA, 1991). With Tema Port being the larger of
the two ports, most lines have the major port of call to be Tema due to the
size of the vessels and their draft hence, they have other vessels which call
Takoradi ports when they have cargoes destined to that port. Others do not have
a port call to Takoradi at all. Recently, due to the renovation works at the
Takoradi port, large sized vessels cannot call that port consequently there is
the need to utilize the feeder service for the transportation of cargo destined
for Takoradi after discharge in Tema.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The
motivation for undertaking this research lies mainly in the value that feeder
vessel operation brings to any country in terms of trade facilitation. Movement
of cargo in Ghana is made possible by variety of means of transport as
mentioned in the introduction. This research focuses exclusively on the feeder
operation in Ghana. As this research assesses the role of feeder operation in
Ghana, some important questions may be generated.

Since
the establishment of feeder service in Ghana, there has been a challenge in
cargo imbalance to and from the Tema and Takoradi ports which threatens
maintaining its future sustainability. Also, there has been an increase in the
deterioration of roads due to constant usage of it by heavy trucks. The rising
numbers of accidents on the roads also lead to destruction of cargo, loss of
life and property. Moreover, the use of feeder vessels will eliminate
restriction in ports concerned with respect to mega sized vessels which will
minimize the level of port congestion being experienced presently.

RESEARCH
OBJECTIVE

To
assess feeder vessel operation in cargo transportation between Tema and
Takoradi ports.

SPECIFIC
OBJECTIVES

·        
To ascertain the comparative cost
advantage between feeder vessels and trucks.

·        
To establish the challenges facing
feeder operation in Ghana.

·        
To establish the benefits of feeder
service to the shipper, shipping lines, service provider and the nation as a
whole.

·        
To ascertain the sustainability of the
vessel operations over the long term in Ghana.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The
research will seek to answer the following related questions;

·        
What is the comparative advantage
between feeder vessels and trucks?

·        
What are the challenges facing feeder
operation in Ghana?

·        
How is the service beneficial to the
shipper, the service provider and the nation as a whole?

·        
Will the service be sustainable over the
long term?

METHODOLOGY

The
conduct of this research involves the following:

i.
An expansive literature review on the feeder vessel operation and its
sustainability in Ghana in order to develop a research hypothesis.

ii.
Carrying out a primary research into the role of feeder vessel operation in
cargo transportation in Ghana precisely between the Tema and Takoradi ports in
which the case study method will be used, supplemented by questionnaires and
interviews. As such relevant information with regards to the feeder service in
Ghana, its benefits and comparative advantage will be deduced for the analysis.

iii.
Interviewing the personnel of some shipping lines, the Ghana Ports and Harbour
Authority (GPHA), truck owners associations and the service provider that is African
Independent Feeder Services (AIFEEDER).

iv.
Distributing questionnaires to several stakeholders to gauge their responses to
several questions on the feeder vessel operation.

v.
Making statistical and descriptive analysis so as to extract practical, logical
and relevant findings from the data collected. Statistical analyses will be
made using tables, percentages and graphs while the interpretation and
conclusion of the survey will be descriptive. The data collected will also be
analyzed by making inferences from the interviews conducted.

vi.
Data analysis using the SPSS software. Statistical tests will be run to ensure
that results reflect the true nature of the research.

TIME SCALE

January
10th- February 20th 2018: review of literature

February
21st –March 15th 2018: draft literature review

March
16th –April 1st 2018: review research methods literature
and agree research strategy

April
2nd – April 15th 2018: agree formal access to three organizations
for collection of primary data

April
16th –April 20th 2018: compile, pilot and revise questionnaire

April
20th – April 22th 2018: administer questionnaire

April
23rd – April 26th 2018: final collection of questionnaires and
analysis of data

April
27th – May 15th 2018–February 2009: completion of first
draft of project report

May
16th –June 16th 2018: final writing of project report

RESOURCES

The
resources to be used for the research work include computer hardware and
software which I have access to. The organization to be used in the case study
has granted the necessary permission as well as the other stakeholder
organizations. I have the full support of the organization being used in the
case study.

REFERENCES

McKinsey
C (1967) Containerization: The Key to
Low-Cost Transportation. Report to the British Transport Docks Board,

Jansson
JO, Shneerson D (1982) The design of
liner shipping series: the problem of feeder services versus multi-port-calls.
Maritime Policy & Management 9 (3):175-188

Pedersen,
Poul Ove (2001) Transport under
globalization and its impact on Africa. Journal of Transport Geography,
forthcoming.

Polat
O, Günther H-O, Kulak O (2013) The Liner
Shipping Feeder Network Design Problem. Flexible Services and Manufacturing
Journal (Submitted)