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‘Dredge Volta Lake Below 5 Metres’
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An urgent call has been made to government to dredge the Volta River at Debra in the Northern Region, below 5 metres, if the Volta Lake Transport Corporation (VLTC) is to operate all year round for transportation safety and a means to revive the fortunes of the water transport company.

The VLTC, a subsidiary of the financially beleaguered Volta River Authority (VRA), has the capacity to transport dry and wet cargo of about 6,000 metric tonnes per trip, from the south to the north of the country to facilitate economic life.

Speaking to this paper, Union Chairman of the Workforce at VLTC, Moses Larbi, called for a demonstrable sense of urgency in tackling and solving the safety and efficient running of the potentially viable river company.

He said that it was good that the government has decided on a multi-modalism (where a combination of transport means—road, rail, water and air –approach to transportation in the economy is a good pivot but action must be put to words.

Multi-modalism of transport, he explained, is used basically to forestall any futuristic attack, sabotage or natural disaster that may hamper economic activities, he added.

“An example of modalism is when cement companies transport their products from their production plants in the south to the north of the country, they convey them to the Akosombo port – marine – where they are taken onto a vessel and transported to build, where water transport terminates for road transport resumes to further north,“ he noted.

In the year 2002, VRA contracted one Dutch company – DMVSS — to dredge the Volta River at Debre, however, the work scope was quite small and shallow to have had a major impact on water transport in the area.

Corroborating the point made by the Union chairman, Captain of MV Buipe, one of the vessels sailing the water transport route, Captain Seini, said that the makeshift port at Debre was so loaded with silt and rocky patches that when the dry season sets in, the water flow is so shallow that the obstructive patches surface, making navigation risky.

He added that per the vessels in use, navigation was possible at even 2 metres of clear water, but for what naturally pertains at just before one arrives at Debre, it requires blasting of the rocks and following it up with dredging to clear the water for navigation.

The corporation has had to stop operations since May, 2017 due to low water levels and is just about restarting as the lake is beginning to gather enough.

However, the difficulties encountered with restarting a business pervades, in that, during the stoppage period, the dedicated clients find other alternative routes, no matter how costly, to transport and thus, courting them to revert is quite hectic.

If the dredging is not done well enough at Debre, there still will not be enough retention of water for use as port and also crossing to Buipe.

Source: today

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