Takoradi June 24 - GNA --- Six hundred and ninety-nine vessels berthed at the Takoradi Port in 2005 as against 465 vessels in 2004.
Mr Nii Nikoi Amasa, Stevedore Manager of the Takoradi Port, announced this when Parliamentary Select Committee On Roads and Transport, visited the Port on Friday.
He said in 2003, 494 vessels called at the Port and in 2002, 463.
Mr Amasa said many ships are coming to the Port because the turn round time has improved.
He said the Port handled 4,635,733 metric tonnes of traffic in 2005, 4,184,384 metric tonnes in 2004 and 3,825,276 metric tonnes in 2003.
Mr Amasa said 246,825 metric tonnes of transit traffic were handled in 2005 as against 169,258 metric tonnes in 2004.
Mr Amasa said 157,132 transit traffic passed through the Port in 2003 as against 18,912 metric tonnes in 2002.
He said challenges of the transit trade included acute shortage of warehouses in Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, inadequate supply of haulage trucks, competition from neighbouring Ports especially Dakar and the bad nature of road from Formena-Anwiah-Nkwanta and the Bole-Bamboi portion of the Hamile corridor.
Mr Amasa said a master plan has been drawn up to expand the capacity of the Port to handle more cargo and more vessels, improve cargo handling operations, reduce cost of doing business in the port and enhance the port's capacity to compete more favourably with its neighbours in the sub-region.
Captain James Owusu Koranteng, acting Director of Takoradi Port, said the Port handles about 68 per cent of the country's exports and about 32 per cent of imports.
He said the Port has over the years faced a lot of challenges due to its age, location and other environmental factors.
Captain Koranteng said some of the current challenges faced by the Port included lack of industries in the Port's hinterland, inadequate berthing facilities, limited space in the Port for Port operations, inadequate sheds and warehousing facilities and lack of haulage transport in the metropolis to service transit trade.
The Port has launched an aggressive marketing campaign to attract shippers from the Northern part of the country and the inland countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
Captain Koranteng said the campaign has led to the granting of rebates to transit trade, among other measures and the result has been encouraging and enhancing growth of the Port.