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Ghana leads race to establish regional shipping center

Article - August 16, 2011
With superior land infrastructure and choice location, Ghana is rapidly becoming a maritime trading hub for the sub-region
In recent years, the country’s two main ports – Tema, some 20 miles east of Accra, and Takoradi, about 140 miles west of the capital – have seen growing volumes of cargo passing through the ports. Ghana has upped its advantage over regional competitors with its landlocked neighbors and those shipping companies looking to reach them.

This is in line with the government-driven Gateway Project, which hopes to position Ghana as the ideal base for regional trade and investment. The Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GPHA), which oversees the country’s two main ports, Takoradi and Tema, has drawn up extensive modernization plans for both facilities to support the country’s bid. Container traffic through Tema has seen a lot of growth as well as shipping activities in Takoradi as a result of the oil find, and there is the need to expand the two  ports to meet the demands of both shipping and oil companies.

GPHA director general Nestor Galley says that efficiency will be a determining factor in which port becomes the hub in the sub-region, and that Ghana is working to eliminate inefficiency in its processes. He adds, “The modernization of our ports is on the agenda of the Authority and the government. The ports are going to be dredged to enable bigger vessels to call with drafts up to 16 meters. The berths will be strengthened, and made longer and wider to facilitate faster handling of modern vessels.

“A new IT platform is being installed which will help in fast clearance of cargo, and includes a cargo tracking system to ensure the safe delivery of cargo at its destination. Training and human resource development has also been embarked upon to ensure that the new cargo handling equipment is operated and maintained efficiently.”