The completion of the various port expansion projects would give Ghana a more competitive edge in operations in the West Africa sub-region, David Songotu, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority’s (GPHA) representative to the Sahelian countries, has said.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing 15th edition of the SIAO Fair, Songotu, who oversees operations in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, said the modernization of the port infrastructure would enhance GPHA capabilities and capacities and also further the goal of creating a competitive economy.
Currently, there are two ongoing port expansion projects.
The $1.5billion Tema Port expansion project, which is a joint venture between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), APM Terminals and Bolloré Transport & Logistics, would have its container terminal facility, which is part of the first phase of the project expected to be opened in June 2019.
There is also the construction of an ultra– modern on-dock container and multipurpose terminal at the Takoradi Port by IbisTek dubbed the Atlantic Terminal Services (ATS) at a cost of $370 million.
Songotu said the two projects would position Ghana as a key trade facilitator and to enable it to compete with francophone corridors used by economic operators from Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
“In 2019 the MPS terminal is expected to be completed and this would place Tema port on top in the sub-region and stakeholders are eager to see the completion of the project.”
“The opportunities are great. They need a reliable port to be able to participate and transit their cargo to be able to develop their own economies,” he added.
Total cargo traffic volumes at the Port of Tema and Takoradi grew from 19.4 million tonnes in 2016 to over 22 million in 2017, registering a 13 per cent increase.
There was also a very significant increase in transit cargo in both ports from 944,081 tonnes in 2016 to 1.249 million in 2017.
Songotu said the opportunities that the expansion projects would provide on the Ghanaian corridor and its sea ports are fast receiving acknowledgment throughout the Sahelian Region by economic operators.
“The opportunities are great. They need a reliable port to be able to participate and transit their cargo to be able to develop their own economies.
I am so excited because as I go round the three countries Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger these are the opportunities they want to see, these are the projects they want to see and development whether technology or physically,” he said.
Songotu expressed the hope that with this the potential transit cargo is expected to reach the two million tonnes mark by end of 2018.
“We will be more competitive in volumes, more competitive in value, more competitive in technology and even more competitive in tariff,” he added.