Business News of 2013-12-03

Ports fund to make harbours more viable

Mr Paul Asare Ansah, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority, has called for a Ports’ Infrastructure Fund to address the short to long term infrastructural challenges of Tema and Takoradi harbours.

According to him, such a fund could also be used to build smaller sea and river ports, road and rail network that would facilitate the movement of people and goods between points of delivery and destination.

Mr Ansah, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency at Tema Harbour on plans made so far to address the problems of the port, which include physical congestion and bureaucracy, said a percentage of the facility’s revenue could be set aside annually for the proposed fund.

He commended the President for visualising and bringing into being the Infrastructure Fund, but said the fund would be addressing a bigger national problem “but we need a specific vault to address a specific issue”.

According to him, the need to finance projects at the various ports has been discussed on several occasions both at the sub-regional and national level. “There have been several attempts by West African port authorities with the backing of their governments to establish a bank purposely for savings and on lending activities of ports. I hope this dream would come true someday.”

Several contracts worth millions of cedis are to be awarded soon to increase the capacity of the ports to handle larger ships, which would result in a reduced waiting time.

“We are looking at not just the physical but the automation of all port process which include scanning, documentation, tolling and ticketing for trucks. A range of equipment that would facilitate work in the port would also be acquired.”

He said capacity for 20 foot containers at the Tema harbour would be doubled in five years as the ports prepares for a massive increase in both domestic and transit trade in the foreseeable future.