Remarks by Ambassador Gene Cretz IbisTek-Crowley Fiesta Royale Hotel

Good morning.  I am pleased to see so much interest in today’s event and in the services that Crowley Maritime and its local partner IbisTek are providing in Ghana.  It gives me great pleasure to support Crowley in its expansion into Africa and in its recent affiliation with a great local partner.

As many of you may know, Crowley is one of the oldest and most respected shipping companies in the world.  The company can trace its history back to the late 19th century when the founder, Thomas Crowley, purchased an 18-foot rowboat to provide transportation and logistics services to ships anchored in San Francisco Bay.  Thomas’ initial $80 investment has grown a bit in the last 125 years — Crowley now has global revenues in excess of $2 billion.

Crowley Maritime’s experience serving the oil industry dates back nearly to the founding of the company.  Thomas Crowley designed one of the first barges capable of moving refined petroleum products.  With a focus on providing quality service and ensuring safe operations no matter where they are operating, Crowley now leads the industry in serving global petroleum companies around the world.

One of the most critical factors for success for an international company lies in its choice of local partners.  Crowley has selected a solid partner here in Ghana.  IbisTek has been operating since 2005, providing turnkey solutions in the energy and civil infrastructure sectors.  The firm has a solid management team and the local knowledge needed to succeed here in West Africa.  Coupled with Crowley’s deep experience and global strength, IbisTek will be in a position to change the landscape of maritime services here in Ghana.

During my time as a representative of the U.S. government, I have been amazed how local governments, the private sector, and local citizens value the important and meaningful role the United States’ private sector plays in developing the local economy.  I’ve had the opportunity to work in many parts of the world and recognize commonalities between many of the markets I’ve worked in, including Ghana.  I believe that the value placed on American products and services are based on five common features that are associated with our very best companies – our innovative spirit, our reliance on local talent, our strong business values, our sound environmental practices and our commitment to community.  I see all of these features well-represented in this newly established joint venture between Crowley and IbisTek.

The maritime industry in Ghana plays an important role in driving economic development.  The ports of Tema and Takoradi are a vital link not only for Ghana but for the inland countries of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali as well.  Development and full utilization of these critical assets will be an important component of Ghana’s future economic growth.

Ghana’s oil and gas industry is of course also a key driver of economic activity and will grow in importance in the coming years.  Without competent and highly sophisticated maritime service providers, like IbisTek-Crowley, Ghana will be challenged to fully develop the economic potential of its offshore petroleum resources.  I anticipate hearing great things about the contributions this great American company will make to Ghana’s development.

I appreciate the Government of Ghana’s focus on building the capacity of local companies to compete in developing this country’s economy.  The partnership that we are recognizing today between IbisTek and Crowley – a partnership between a strong global company and a well-established local firm — is an effective approach to building capacity of Ghanaian companies and increasing their contribution to the country’s development.  I’m confident that in the coming years the linkage of IbisTek and Crowley will be a model for increasing local content in the sectors driving this economy.

Thank you again for joining me today in celebrating another great U.S. company establishing strong roots in West Africa.  The United States and Ghana have a great mutually beneficial relationship.  With our shared values and vision of creating prosperity for everyone, Ghana and the U.S. make a great team.  I’m pleased that IbisTek Crowley will be contributing to our efforts.  I look forward to hearing of their great success in the coming years.