This paper shows the effect of changes in GDP, population, foreign trade and seaport access corridors of ECOWAS member countries, especially the littoral States, on the growth of freight volumes of their respective economies. The aim of the paper is to recommend a short sea shipping model for the ECOWAS sub-region, to reduce the cost per transported unit within the sub-region and predict the growth of short sea shipping freight in ECOWAS economies. The research is based on cross-sectional data from ECOWAS countries spanning from 2000 to 2013 and sourced from the ECOWAS Commission and National Bureaus of Statistics of some member countries. The research also showed that the development of short sea shipping model in the sub-region would depend considerably on growth in GDP, improvement in the productivity of the population and increase in seaport corridors of the ECOWAS sub-region. This model provides a useful framework for forecasting short-sea shipping freight for the ECOWAS sub-region. Despite the ECOWAS efforts at promoting policies to encourage intra-regional cooperation based on its advantages in terms of energy efficiency, improved intermodality and environmental safety, short sea shipping remains undeveloped compared to road transport mode. The paper concludes that funding opportunities in the sub-region have not offered the right incentives and support to promote short sea shipping. Some critical factors such as the crucial role of port infrastructure and its characteristics have not been taken into full consideration by transport policymakers in the sub-region. This paper suggests the need for ECOWAS member states to prioritise investment in the development of short sea shipping capacity, including the supportive port infrastructure as well as improvement of the entire transport system efficiency.
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