President inaugurates 15 gantry cranes - Cuts sod for phase 2 of Tema Port Expansion
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated a fleet of new gantry cranes and also cut the sod for the commencement of phase two of the Tema Port Expansion Project.
The inauguration of the 15 additional gantry cranes and the commencement of civil works under phase two of the Tema Port Expansion Project, operated by Meridian Port Services Ltd (MPS), will add 270,000 square metres to the existing one million square metres and set in motion a transformation that will fundamentally alter Ghana's standing in the maritime industry in West Africa.
At the ceremony yesterday, President Akufo-Addo said the project would inure positively to the growth and development of the Tema Harbour.
The President recalled his visit to Tema on November 8, 2017, during a regional tour of the Greater Accra Region when the CEO of MPS presented to him a vision of what Terminal Three of the Tema Port would become and, six years on, that vision had been realised in its full glory.
President Akufo-Addo said through collaboration with international partners, Ghana had established a world-class trade infrastructure that did not only meet global standards but also signalled to investors, both local and international, that Ghana was open for business.
This achievement, the President said, was no small feat and it reflected the immense potential that the nation held.
“The substantial investments made in this vast land space and the state-of-the-art equipment we see today have tripled the port's capacity.
This indicates that Ghana is poised for unprecedented trade growth.
“Our strategic location, situated at the crossroads of the world, gives us a distinct advantage, offering a welcoming gateway for trade in our region and beyond,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo said since taking office, his government had placed a high priority on the development of the agricultural sector through various initiatives, including the Planting for Food and Jobs and the Economic Enclave Project, under the Ghana CARES programme.
He said in the face of global population growth and disruptions in world food supply systems, Ghana had remained resilient due to the measures his administration had put in place.
He was of the firm belief that Ghana had the potential to become the world's leading exporter of agricultural produce, thanks to the abundant resources, including favourable weather conditions, ample water, and fertile land.
The President, however, said what the nation lacked over the years was modernisation and the robust logistics chain required to realise that potential.
He said the MPS Terminal 3 infrastructure was a good example of a logistics platform that would drive that vision to reality.
He stated that it was not prudent for Ghana to continue importing when the country had the capability to create jobs for its vibrant youth population by supporting developments and investing in critical port infrastructure that provided the foundation for industries to create the much-needed jobs and foster the export-driven economy that the nation wanted to develop.
President Akufo-Addo said the emergence of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose secretariat is hosted by Ghana, represented an opportunity for Africa to strengthen immeasurably intra-African trade as a powerful avenue to develop the continent’s vast economic potential.
The President expressed his optimism that, despite the challenges Ghana might be facing, the nation would once again prove its resilience as it continued to invest in vital sectors of the economy.
The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said to facilitate and enhance trade, the road from the port to the Tema Motorway was receiving urgent attention.
He added that the Ministry, in collaboration with its partners, was going through the necessary legal regime and documentation.
He gave an assurance that by the first quarter of 2024, construction works on the road from Community Three to the Tema Motorway would start.
In his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer of MPS, Mohamed Samara, said the gantry cranes represented an additional investment of over $50 million in Ghana's maritime sector, a testament to the commitment of MPS to foster economic growth.
He added that the high-tech ship-to-shore cranes, classified as Super-Post Panamax, boasted the capability to service the world's largest vessels, featuring an impressive outreach of 66 metres and the ability to handle containers up to the 23rd row of vessels.
These cranes also offer the unique ability to stack containers over 10 units high on deck, equipped with twin-lift spreaders capable of handling loads of up to 65 tons.
The Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Michael Achagwe Luguje, said Terminal Three at the Tema Port stood as a testament to successful business partnerships between GPHA and its investment partners at MPS, and added that the impressive world-class facility was a model of what could be achieved when like-minded entities came together with a shared vision.
Present at the ceremony were the President of Africa Global Logistics, Philippe Labonne; Regional Managing Director of APM Terminals, Igor van den Essen; Chairman of the MPS Board, Dr Edmund Osei Tutu Prempeh; Director of the Port of Tema, Sandra Opoku; MCE of Tema, Yohane Amarh Ashitey, among others.