The leadership of Meridian Port Services (MPS) including the Board of Directors and Senior Management have held a stakeholder engagement with Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officers and Senior Management of Food and Drugs Authority and Ghana Standards Authority two major regulatory agencies that are engaged in the inspection and certification of standards of goods at Ghana’s Ports.
The FDA and GSA together with Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority were the three main regulatory agencies that were given the mandate to examine or inspect goods through the joint inspection directive given by the Vice President, His Excellency Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
It was for this and many more reasons that the management of MPS deemed it necessary to update the organizations with information on ongoing activities and progress of work of the Tema Port Expansion project.
Chief Executive Officer of MPS, Mohammed Samara, described the maritime industry in Ghana as increasingly growing and therefore requires modernization of its infrastructure to accommodate anticipated evolution.
“The quay wall itself cannot take the weight of among massive cranes to be fitted on it, so the only solution was to expand the port itself. GPHA had in mind a master plan developed by some consultants to move the port to the west. Inside this masterplan, GPHA and MPS shareholders decided that we build on the success of MPS,” he said.
The MPS Boss explained that the newly expanded terminal will allow Tema Port to attract larger volumes of cargo which is currently the trend globally.
He said this is what informed the drafters of the expansion master plan through the initiative of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to embark on the magnificent ultramodern facility.
The MPS Boss said the Port which would be able to handle 2million+ TEUs, is poised to serve the whole of the West African sub-region through transhipment services.
“The port is not just built to cater for the growing volume or economy of Ghana also they want to play a role in West Africa and become a bridging point for the flows into the neighbouring countries. We service inland and also we have the potential to create the East and West bound traffic,” he said.
The Board Chairman of GPHA, Peter Mac Manu, who also doubles as a board member of MPS, acknowledged the significance of the regulatory agencies’ in monitoring the goods that come through our ports, but urged them to perform their duties without compromising trade facilitation.
“Food and Drugs Board and Standards Authority a key role in standard that we expect into this country by way of cargo. We don’t have to import food that will come and damage the good people of Ghana, which we have to secure that at the port. And at the same time the importers want speed and timeliness in delivery because that will increase their cost if there are delays. If you look at the system and operation that is envisaged by MPS it takes into account all this so that eventually the importers are happy and satisfied with the turnaround of business,” he said.
The GPHA Board Chairman also touted some of the benefits anticipated with the impending port expansion facility.
According to MPS, the entire 3 berth project is about 60% complete, however to commence operation with the first 2 berths, engineers are over 75% complete to allow the project commence its operations by June 2019.
Mohammed Samara added that apart from the benefits that would be bestowed unto the Port Operators, Ghana’s economy is even more positioned to enjoy from the facility.
“Our vision is to try and capture half million TEUs which is the smaller port trans-shipment. Some ports are too shallow. We want to let the mother ship come to us discharge everything for the smaller ship carry them to the smaller port and not the other way around which will rather increase the cost of trans-shipment to Ghana, so we want to try and take advantage and gain as a market,” he revealed.
Led by the Board Chairman of GPHA and the CEO of MPS the heads of the regulatory agencies were taken on tour of the facility that is expected to commence operations in about six months from now.
During the tour, CEO of MPS, revealed that by 22nd of December, four Ship to Shore gantry cranes and 8 Robber Tyre Gantry Cranes would arrive into Ghana ready to start working on the expanded Tema Port site.
He said by March, 2019, all the cranes would have been ready to go live after and then training and recruitment of operators would follow.
The Board of Directors and Senior Managers of the Food and Drugs Authority as well as Ghana Standards Authority expressed total surprise at the level of progress of the project and appealed to MPS to consider providing sufficient space as stations for their institutions in order to help them conduct their duties effectively.
“You have to think about us as part of the system instead of just allotting inconvenient small space for us but you rather have to fit us into system and be provided enough space for us to bring more staff to cope with the volumes coming in,” he said.