While some sectors recorded marginal improvement in the second quarter this year as captured in the recent Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) quarterly bulletin, key sectors of the economy, namely, port activities and industrial consumption of electricity both recorded a decline.
Year on year, economic activities at the country’s two-main sea ports -Tema and Takoradi – as measured by container traffic, declined during the second quarter of 2020 compared with what was observed in the corresponding quarter of 2019.
In effect, the total container traffic in the second quarter this year recorded 146,266 from 152,441 recorded during the second quarter of 2019, representing 4.1 percent during the periods under review.
“Similarly, port activity decreased by 12.3 percent when compared to 166,685 containers recorded in the first quarter of 2020”, portion of the report read, adding that the relative decline in port act activities may be attributed to a moderation in international trade activities during the quarter.
Since 2016 second quarter, economic activities at the country’s ports had been recording container traffic averagely between 140,000 to 160,000 containers per quarter until a sharp rise during the fourth quarter of last year, which recorded 179,727.
In fact, the novel Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Pandemic has had debilitating effects on all business and economic activities. Despite the virus seemed to be gradually dying down recently, it appears that the second wave of the rise of infections could further push economy recovery to later date.
Since the virus struck late first quarter 2020, container traffic at Ghana’s ports has further declined and the remaining period left to end the year could likely record same trend, industry players say.
About 85 percent of Ghana’s trade is done through the ports with shipping routes and vessel calls to and from all continents through both direct and transshipment services. Ghana’s ports receive an average of over 1511 vessel calls per year. These comprise container vessels, general cargo vessels, tankers, Ro-Ro and cruise vessels amongst many others.
On the other hand, the consumption of electricity by industries, which is a proxy for activities within the productive sectors of the economy, declined by 4 percent during the second quarter of 2020, compared with observations made in the corresponding period of 2019.
According to the BoG report, industries utilised 650.84 giga-watts of power in the second quarter of 2020, as against 678.09giga-watts utilised during the same period in 2019.
Similarly, industrial consumption of electricity decreased by 7.3 percent from 701.88 giga-watts utilised during the first quarter of 2020.
“The relative decline in the electricity consumed by industries could be attributed to a slowdown in industrial activity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic”, according to the report.