Business News of 2014-01-28

Two out with new way to export manganese

The Ghana Manganese Company (GMC) in partnership with SMT, a Dutch worldwide shipping company, is expected to put into operation a new mode of exporting manganese.

The new transshipment, lauded by the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GPHA), is expected to begin early February this year.

The new transshipment operation, it is believed, will increase GMC’s annual export to boost revenue generation for the companies and the country at large, as well as boost the aim of port expansion projects.

Currently, GMC exports an average of 2 million tonnes per annum using handy mask size vessels for its operations -- GMC seeks to have an internal method for the maximum use of current available facilities within the port and it related constraints until the completion of the new cargo berth under port expansion project.

Captain James Owusu Koranteng, Acting Director of the Takoradi Port explained to the media in Takoradi that the new transshipment is an improvement to the current operations in terms of efficiency and quick turnaround of vessel operations in the midst of an on-going port expansion project development.

According to him, transshipment vessels will be kept in deep waters -- approximately 3.5 nautical miles out -- safe from all port navigation approaches.

Also, he said smaller vessel will now load or feed the Floating Storage Unit (FSU) with cargo from GMC’s berth -- GMC has been exporting cargo through the Takoradi Port. Some time ago, the tonnage was as low as 630 tonnes.

Over the last two years, he said, by dint of hard work cargo input increased to 1.9 million tonnes and then 2 million tonnes last year -- GMC has the aim of increasing cargo, which means more business opportunities, labour and more revenue to the Port and the government as a whole.

“GMC will load faster and bigger tonnages, and there will be elimination of using buoys -- which have challenges with availability and competition among the bulk companies (clinker/bauxite),” he added.

Capt. Owusu-Koranteng added that in accordance with the labour law of Ghana (Local Content Bill passed by parliament) SMT will employ some professional Ghanaian seafarers for its operations in the country.

“SMT seeks to use cadets from the Ghana Maritime University for sea training, an area that has been a source of worry to Ghanaian students aspiring to become Ghanaian Merchant Naval Officers,” he said.

Mr. James Attoh, GMC Port Operations Manager, pointed out that the Takoradi Port and GMC had long ago started talking about transshipment – “this has been on our drawing board for over two years”.

He noted that transshipment has its own challenges and assured management of Takoradi Port that “we will ensure it becomes viable so other stakeholders will follow suit”.