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Akufo-Addo meets port workers over MPS agitations

BY: Della Russel Ocloo

The Leadership of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU) is to meet with President, Nana Akufo-Addo concerning recent agitations over the operationalization of the new terminal developed by the Meridian Port Services (MPS) at the Tema Port.

A letter to the union signed by the Executive Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo has requested the MDU and the leadership of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) workers union to join some stakeholders for the meeting with the President at 11 am.

The letter pointed out that the meeting was to enable the President have a firsthand information on the issues the MDU and the port workers have been saying about the agreement.

The workers union have over the past weeks protested what they described as the government’s seemingly lack of interest in calls for the agreement to be reviewed to protect the Port Authority’s investments as well as jobs for dock workers.

They argued that the exclusivity clauses in the agreement goes to create a zero-sum game where MPS survives only when GPHA and other operators in the sector lose their business.

Despite recent assurances given by the management of MPS that the facility would rather create several job and business opportunities for people and the Port Authority, the General Secretary of MDU, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng maintained that the GPHA would be totally priced out of the sector when the new facility becomes operational on June 28 with commercial operations beginning on July 1, 2019.

Clauses

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The exclusivity clauses in the agreement, the group believes prevents other operators from undertaking container business, thus allowing the MPS to operate monopoly in the container business. 

“It is worthy to note that the container traffic stood at about 1,077,066 twent0-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2018 for Tema alone, therefore the exclusivity clause in addition to tax waiver of $832million are totally needless and unwarranted”, the MDU argued.

The MPS at a recent media interaction however had insisted that the new facility presents an opportunity for the Port Authority to utilise existing terminals to increase business competitivess at the port.