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Opinions of Friday, 9 September 2016

Columnist: General Telegraph

Editorial: The US$1.5 billion Tema Port project

The volume of cargo handled by the Port of Tema has increased tenfold in the last 54 years, shooting up dramatically from about 100, 000 tonnes in 1962 when the port was built, to more than one million tonnes today.

While the growth in cargo volume has been phenomenal, there has been no corresponding expansion of the port to be able to accommodate the increased volumes of cargo. This has led to congestion of the port and long delays in shipping operations.

The government’s announcement that work on the Tema Port Expansion Project which will be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) will begin on 1 October, 2016, is therefore good news.

Good news, because the project will see the construction of a new 1.4-kilometre quay to accommodate larger vessels, the construction of a railway terminal for the movement of containers by rail to and from the port and greatly improve the operational efficiency of the port.

These improvements will doubtlessly make the Tema Port more competitive in the sub-region’s shipping industry and link Ghana more effectively to the global logistic market.

Yet another component of the project will be the expansion of the Accra-Tema Motorway into a six-lane expressway, with service lanes on either side to accommodate the traffic that will come along with the expansion of the port.

The project is also expected to provide employment for more than 3,000 Ghanaians. Thus, while the project will cost a whopping $1.5 billion and take three years to complete, the gains will be worth the time and investment.

We urge the government to determinedly pursue its plans to build a new interchange at the Tema Roundabout and expand the Accra-Tema Motorway from four lanes to six lanes to facilitate easier cargo transportation to and from the port.

The government needs to consider with urgency too, the rehabilitation of the Western rail line from Takoradi to Kumasi to transport shipping cargo to the middle and northern belts of the country through Takoradi.

Additional investment is needed for the urgent redesign of the 80-km rail line to link Tema to Akosombo to facilitate the direct transportation of shipping cargo from Tema to the Buipe Inland port to serve the Northern, Upper East and Upper west Regions as well as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.