MPS project: Akufo-Addo has safeguarded your jobs – Min. to GPHA workers
The Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has said President Nana Akufo-Addo has pledged to ensure that “there are no job losses” at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) “as a result of the Meridian Port Services (MPS) Concession Agreement”.
The MPS project is aimed at making the Tema Port the largest cargo port in West Africa with a capacity of 3.5 million 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) per annum.
Mr Asiamah said Mr Akufo-Addo has listened to the concerns of the GPHA workers led by the Maritime and Dock Workers Union (MDU) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and has also engaged the management of MPS to ensure that GPHA workers do not suffer job losses as a result of the project.
“The President further held a meeting with the shareholders of MPS and obtained their commitment to engage GPHA to ensure adequate revenue generation and job retention on the part of GPHA,” a statement issued by the minister on Friday, 28 June 2019 said.
Freight forwarders at Ghana’s Tema Port also raised opposition to a proposed 10.9 per cent increase in port tariffs by the MPS.
The Vice-President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Mr Johnny Mantey, said: “I am in shock and I want to believe it is not true. I don’t even know what kind of tariff lines has been increased by 11 per cent. I think the timing is very bad”.
Also, the Chairman of the Concerned Freight Forwarders and Traders Association, Oheneba Akwasi Afrawua, told the media: “We expect MPS to maintain the existing rate. Why are they rushing. They have 35 years to run the port. They can make their profit in 10 years”.
MPS, the Concessionaire handling the Tema Port Expansion Project, wants the tariff hike to coincide with the opening of the port’s Terminal 3 facility, ClassFMonline.com gathered from insider sources within the company.
However, the press release from the Minister stated that “operations at Terminal 3 shall commence with the existing tariffs, whilst the GPHA goes through due process with the relevant stakeholders for any tariff increase”.
Contract between GPHA and MPS
The GPHA, which is the Grantor, was established pursuant to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority Law 1986 (PNDCL 160) by the government of Ghana to plan, build, develop, manage, maintain, operate and control ports in Ghana subject to, and in accordance with the laws of Ghana.
The Concessionaire, MPS, is a private company limited by shares and incorporated and registered in Ghana under the Companies Code 1963 (Act 179) with Company number CA- 4171.
On 17 August 2004, the parties entered into a Concession Agreement (The “Agreement”) in terms whereof, inter alia, the Concessionaire undertook to design, redesign, engineer, and construct, as applicable, then equip, operate, maintain, manage and repair the Container Terminal at the Port of Tema and provide the facilities and services within the area of the Tema Port.
As a result of the national economic growth and the increasing volumes of containerised cargo handled at the Port of Tema, the Grantor decided to expand the Port of Tema in order to accommodate larger container vessels and increase its container-handling capacity in line with the GPHA masterplan.
As a consequence, thereof, the Grantor decided to develop additional facilities, relocate and expand the areas to be operated by the Concessionaire under the agreement, in accordance with the GPHA masterplan so that the Concessionaire can continue to satisfy its obligations under the Agreement.
In the light of this planned expansion, the Grantor and the Concessionaire acknowledged that the areas operated by the Concessionaire under the Concession Agreement must be relocated and expanded within the GPHA masterplan and the Concessionaire shall, thereafter, operate in the new expanded area.
The parties acknowledged that: “The expansion project (as defined hereafter) will require the improvement of the road network, including the upgrade of the road access between Tema Port and the Accra – Tema motorway, and the upgrade of the Accra – Tema motorway to six lanes with slip roads (the “Road Project”, the scope of which is more particularly described in the Road Agreement)”.
The Concessionaire confirmed to the Grantor that its majority shareholder, Meridian Port Holdings Limited, had agreed to enter into binding agreements to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the Road Project within a time schedule consistent with the expansion project.
The Grantor offered, and the Concessionaire accepted to engineer, finance, build, and operate Terminal 3 subject to the terms and the conditions contained in the Deed of Amendment and the Agreement.