COVID-19: Cargo arrivals at KIA decline due to travel advisory

The air cargo industry at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) has seen some drastic reduction in their services following a similar decline in airline passengers to Ghana

With eleven cases of Coronavirus confirmed in Ghana, recorded as at 4 pm yesterday in Ghana, impacts across the board continue to be felt as latest figures from the Ghana Immigration Service show that cargo inflows have dropped around 50–60 per cent since passenger inflows went down more than 60 per cent.

The drops are similar in number because 90 per cent of air cargo comes on passenger airlines while 10 per cent is on cargo airlines.

Following the inspection of the Aviation Ministers, Joseph Kofi Adda at the cargo units of KIA and Fixed Base Operator (FBO) to find examine their level preparedness and protocol measures for handling the COVID-19, managers of the facilities expressed worry about these risky times.

According to the cargo Manager at Aviance Ghana, Richard Baah, noted that they have seen a sharp decline in cargo from China and some European countries since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“For now, we are not getting goods from China and Europe, the epicentres of the virus,” he said when the Minister of Aviation asked.

Mr Baah further added that even though for the past three years Aviance Ghana has seen some slow cargo delivery in the first quarter of the year, the pandemic has further made business slower.

However, he assured the minister that stringent measures have been put in place to ensure contaminated goods do not enter the country.

“We are sure our systems are well placed to check all the goods that get into Ghana. The COVID-19 is a global issue and every nation is also very careful not deal with contaminated goods that can transport the virus, so we are safe here.”

The minister expressed satisfaction with some of the measures put in place to protect the staff but was worried about the Customs’ office in the enclave that was harbouring more than 20 persons which is against the distance protocols.

As a result, the Customs team head at Aviance Ghana promised the minister that the situation will be rectified.

Swiss Port Cargo Services

Country Manager-Swiss Port Cargo Services, Chris Goodsir, also said that since the beginning of January, cargo volumes have declined by 17 per cent.

But the recent cancellation of flights due to the pandemic, the company has seen approximately, a 20-25 per cent decline in volume.

“Cargo has gone down since January; our imports volumes have gone down about 17 per cent. We have been informed that more flights are being cancelled, so we are expecting our cargo volumes to drop slightly. We are doing everything within our power to ensure that we maintain integrity of the cargo as well as integrity of the staff, and the facilities’ safety protocols.”

Will the situation affect workers?

He also assured that the company will not lay-off workers during these challenging times.

“We are doing everything we can to alleviate the panic of personnel with regard to their jobs and their job security; there is nothing worse than not knowing what is happening the next day.”