Ambitious Expansion Plan for Ghana's Tema Port: Tema Is the Most Important Entry Port in Ghana, Handling around 70% of Total Maritime Cargo to and from the Country. but the Volume of Throughput Now Far Exceeds the Port's Handling Capacity, Leading to Long Queuing for Ships and Slower Trade. but, Francis L Sackity Reports from Accra, Plans Are Afoot to Rapidly Expand the Port

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BOLLORE AFRICA LOGISTICS Ghana Limited is to invest about $1.5m in infrastructural upgrading at the Tema Port as part of efforts aimed at expanding facilities there to meet rising demand.

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The investment will go into the purchase and installation of cranes, reach stackers, ship-to-shore cranes, among others, and will be done through its local partners, Meridian Port Services (MPS), a joint venture between Bollore and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).

MPS has, since 2007, been managing the container terminal at the Tema Port and has, together with its partners, invested about mom into the container terminal after taking over its operations from the GPHA.

The Tema Port, one of the two sea ports in Ghana, handles about 70% of total maritime freight to and from the country. There has been increasing pressure on the facilities there as cargo throughput continues to rise and that has led to delays in loading, offloading and cargo clearance.

To help close the infrastructure deficits and reduce handling challenges, Bollore and its local partner, MPS, had resolved to expand the harbour's equipment base. Meanwhile, traffic at the port continues to increase. Cargo throughput at Tema rose by 26.4% in 2011 to urn tonnes, while container volumes grew 28.3% to 756,899 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs). Container traffic through the port grew from about 343,000 TEUs in 2004 to about 526,000 TEUs in 2009 and then to 822,000 in 2012, a growth of 56% in three years, with limited vessel facilities at the port.

Total cargo traffic through the port rose to 9.2m metric tonnes in 2.004 and dropped to 7.4m in 2009 but rose to 11.5m metric tonnes in 2012, a similar growth of 55% in three years.

For the year ending 2012 alone, 511 full cellular container vessels called at the port, with 33 multipurpose container vessels, 162 Ro-Ro (roll-on-roll off) vessels and 104 refrigerated vessels also served by the port. In the 12 months of 2012, the port discharged about 156,000 vehicles, or an average of 540 vehicles per working day, into the Ghanaian economy.

Bollore Africa Logistics has perhaps the widest integrated logistics network on the African continent and is currently the leading operator of public-private partnerships in the port and rail sectors. It has a presence in 56 countries, including 45 in Africa and a workforce of 25,000. It was created in zoo8, uniting all activities on the African continent and in the countries that have commercial relations with Africa.

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The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has also initiated steps to reclaim about half a kilometre of sea, three kilometres westward of the Tema Port to secure more space for expansion to meet increasing demands of the maritime industry. The expansion project, expected to cost about $1bn, will involve reclamation, dredging, the provision of breakwaters and the construction of container terminals and a cruise terminal. A Chinese team of experts in the marine business involved in container manufacturing, the provision of container terminals, among others, has been in the country to have first-hand information on the Tema Port. …