Talks are expected to begin between the governments of Ghana and Netherlands for the development and expansion of the country’s sea ports to meet the growing volumes of maritime trade.
The negotiations will focus on considering Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in ports expansion and logistics among the two countries.
“We expect some negations to begin soon. We are trying to promote a model of PPP in Ports expansion and development as we are doing in Netherlands with our largest port expansion project.
“Government does not have to invest its own money in Port expansion. PPP is a model for Ghana to follow particularly as its budget is over stretched,” said Hans Docter, Kingdom of Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana at a news conference in Accra.
“We are both the gateways to our backyard region and so it is important to develop our ports to support trade in our respective regions,” he said.
He said choosing people from the Rotterdam port, the biggest in the world, and the Amsterdam port, also the fourth largest in the world, was to ensure that The Netherlands had something to offer Ghana.
“This is to enhance the already strong trade ties between the two countries,” he stated.Trade volumes between the two countries in 2012 grew to 1.1 billion
Euros from Ghana and 900 million Euros from The Netherlands, compared with a 2010 figure of 400 million Euros from each side.
“For the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Accra, strengthening our economic ties is a top priority. Economic diplomacy, support to Dutch companies, as well as promoting opportunities for Ghanaian businesses in The Netherlands, are core competencies of the Embassy,” Docter stated.
Docter announced that a group of 30 companies in The Netherlands will be in the country on a trade visit to explore mutual business opportunities.
During the visit, specific attention will be given to developments in the ports and logistics sector of the country because of the expertise in managing and developing ports, as well as optimizing related logistics.
“The sector is important to the development of Ghana’s private sector and economy of the entire West African region.”
He explained that there would be a symposium organized by the Port Development Partnership (PDP) African-Netherlands to find ways of establishing a sustainable and long-term development of African main ports.
Alongside this visit will be the berthing of the largest naval vessels in the Dutch navy. HNLMS Rotterdam, aimed at strengthening maritime security along the West African coast.
The vessel is expected to be in the country as part of the “Africa Wind” military exercise to engage in a joint-military exercise with the Ghanaian navy. Boukje van Turenhout, Project Coordinator of Netherlands African Business Council (NABC) with 300 companies operating in Africa, said ports and logistics were an interesting aspect of doing business in Ghana.
“We will be finding local companies to partner with and work to enhance trade relations between Ghana and The Netherlands,” she stated. Turenhout, hinted that 15 of the visiting companies will work with Ghanaian stakeholders to develop the main ports and new ones the Ghanaian government planned to build.
Current port expansion project
The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has already signed an agreement with the China Harbour engineering Company (CHEC) for work to begin on the first phase of the 150-million-dollar Takoradi Port Infrastructure Development Project.
B&FT has gathered that expansion works on the Takoradi Port is currently underway in earnest following the arrival of vital equipment for the project. When completed, the project is expected to position the port to receive bigger vessels, improve the turn-around time and to eliminate double handling of cargoes.
Two construction firms, Messrs Jan-de-Dul from Belgium and China Harbour Construction of China are executing the three-year project. The first and second phases of the project is valued at US$344 million.
Messrs Jan-de-Dul is responsible for the extension of the breakwater, the bulk jetty, dredging, as well as backfilling estimated at €197 million, while China Harbour Construction will be constructing the roads and superstructure, as well as stuffing of the log pond at a cost of US$150 million.
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