Posted on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 14:12

Ghana's oil industry drives port growth

By Billie Adwoa McTernan

Takoradi port’s expansion is part of a wider infrastructure programme for Western Region. Photo©All Rights ReservedUpgrades at Tema mean that a rig services industry can develop, while the port at Takoradi will grow to compete for regional trade.

The Ghana Ports and Har­bours Authority (GPHA) has plans to turn Tema into one of West Africa's highest ­capa­city ports and to set up an oil ser­vices yard, but shippers maintain that high fees are holding back the port's development.

Ghana is losing out to Côte d'Ivoire and Togo because of high fees and management problems 

A $2.5bn expansion at Tema and Takoradi is underway.

Due to reach completion in 2018, Tema harbour should be able to handle 2m TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) per year, rivalling the expanded port of Abidjan.

Most recent available statistics from the GPHA show that 822,131 TEUs passed through Tema, Ghana's main port, in 2012 whilst last year Lagos handled 1.4m.

With two new cranes inaugurated in Janu­ary, turnaround time for ships at Tema is expected to fall from six days in 2013 to four days this year.

Bidding for the Tema expansion ended in late January. The planned upgrade includes five phases, and contractors will build eight berths.

One of the final stages includes rig repair facil­ities and an oil services terminal for the country's growing oil and gas industry.

While Tema is yet to begin its second phase of expansion, work at Takoradi started in December 2013.

Growth at the Western Re­gion port is already rising, with transit traffic up from 6,000tn in 2012 to 39,000tn in 2013.

Total traffic at Takoradi went from 5.3m tn in 2012 to 5.5m tn in 2013.

Works at Takoradi are expected to be finished by 2016 and are part of a wider infrastructure pro­ gramme in the Western Region, the base for many oil companies operating in Ghana's offshore.

Roads and railways are being con­ structed to ease the transport of goods across the country and to serve as a more efficient transit point for neighbouring countries.

The China Development Bank is providing $450m for the Takoradi expansion.

Another €197m ($267m) facility comes from Belgium's KBC Groep. Bel­ gian company Jan De Nul Group is doing the construction work. http://spravkavspb.com


Traders are not satisfied with the management of the port.

In January, a group of shippers from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger peti­ tioned the GPHA to drop a transit fee that it charged on some goods.

Paul Asare Ansah, GPHA pub­ lic affairs manager, says there has not been any official increase in transit tariffs: "There was a new customs officer who had just been posted to the transit yard and was trying to re­introduce physical es­ cort at a fee for selected products like textiles and cooking oil. Ac­ cording to him, these goods were prone to diversion. The issue was reported to the commissioner of customs who has since ordered themtostopthephysicalescort."

Ghana Shippers Authority has received complaints about costs as well as members of state agencies trying to extort money.

In Decem­ber, Daniel McKorley of McDan Shipping Company said Ghana is losing out to Côte d'Ivoire and Togo because of high fees and management problems. ●

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