The Ghana Port and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has signed a $1.5 million Concession Agreement with Meridian Port Services (MPS), a company working in Shipping and Port agent business activities to aid the expansion of the Tema Harbour, which has not witnessed any major rehabilitation works for almost 35 years.
The port, which will be extended to the Sakumono area, is expected to offer employment to about 5,000 people, when completed. Personnel ranging from officers to operators, drivers, food and service vendors and labourers are the target group for employment. Feasibility studies have been conducted to forestall the displacement of people and communities in the area in question, as most activities, officials say, will go on in the sea.
When works on the expansion of the port are completed, most container activities will take place in the new facility. The Director-General of the GPHA, Mr. Richard Anamoo, who made this revelation at a brief programme to sign the agreement at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra last Friday, said the move was the “rebirth of the biggest port in the West Africa sub-region”.
Since there is pressure at the port due to its small size which makes it unable to contain the ever-increasing number of vessels and trucks that throng the place each day, it is the hope of Mr. Anamoo that traffic that was often generated in the process will be a thing of the past.
He added that: “There is sometimes traffic on the Motorway because there is no space at the port to take care of the situation. Trucks which are not carrying containers queue in the port which compounds the pressure on the facility.” The Minister for Transport, Mrs. Dzifa Attivor, who was excited to be part of the historic event, said the development of the Tema Port would “enhance its efficiency as well as make it more competitive within the sub-region.”
This giant step, she explained, was in tandem with President John Mahama’s vision of transforming the country into a middle income level and that called for the acceleration of economic activities to enhance the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “This vision requires that the Transport Sector, among other key sectors, must be well positioned in terms of infrastructure and service provisions to play a pivotal role in the economic development process,” Mrs. Attivor added.
According to her, it is a government policy to develop projects through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements to reduce the financial burden on government and, “therefore, self-financing agencies such as the GPHA are encouraged to enter into ventures to accelerate development of their infrastructure through commercial cooperation with the private sector.”
The project in the agreement between the GPHA and MPS, which is expected to be executed within three years, would have a new 3.85 kilometre breakwater to be constructed within the dredged port access channel of 19 metres deep and 250 metres wide, a reclaimed land of 120 hectares and a new 1.4 kilometre quay walls for 4 container berths with 16 metres draft.
In addition, the new facility will have a railway terminal for the transport of containers by rail to and from the port. Other facilities to be contained in the new facility are workshops, offices, equipment, including Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes and Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes.
Board Chairman of the GPHA, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo said that the dream they had as government come to the reality and that the President’s vision of transforming the economy through the provision and expansion of infrastructure, which will reflect the creation of more jobs, is on course.
He added that the port could turn the economy around and that achievement would be realized when all facilities needed to put it on the spotlight are provided and placed in their proper places. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the MPS, Mr. Mohammed Samara, reminisced that none of the ports in the West African sub-region had seen any good upgrade and so its partnership agreement with the GPHA was welcome news.
For him, the expansion project will make Ghana the leading trade hub in West Africa, and possibly the African continent as a whole. In reference to the depth of work to be carried out, juxtaposed with the provisions of local content, Mr. Samara gave the assurance that Ghanaians will be given more opportunities to serve in that capacity, adding that investors would be attracted into the system because “the new facility will deal with bigger and bigger containers.”
He also observed that even though so much effort had preceded the concession agreement, the real hard work starts now. The Port of Tema was constructed in 1962 to handle general cargo. With increase in cargo and deeper container diffusion in recent times, there is the need to expand the general port facilities and create more container terminals. The first terminal was established in 2004, under the erstwhile Kufuor administration, as a joint venture between GPHA and MPS.
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