THE Ministry of Harbours and Railways has denied media reports that it has suspended the planned extension of concession granted to the Meridian Ports Services (MPS).
A statement signed by Ahmed Ayuba, Special Assistant to Prof Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, the sector minister, denied ever issuing any directive regarding the suspension of the contract with MPS, the consortium operating the container terminal at the Tema Port.
The statement explained that it was rather the concession agreement between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and MPS “with respect to shorehandling of containers in the port of Tema that has been suspended”.
The Ministry, therefore, “wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the contract the GPHA entered into with MPS”.
The statement explained that following increased agitation by indigenous stevedoring companies on stevedoring operations, the minister invited the Ghana Association of Stevedoring Companies (GASCO) to a meeting.
It explained further that it was at the meeting that the minister confirmed the suspension of concession with respect to shorehandling of containers.
The Minister, therefore, assured GASCO that a meeting between GPHA, GASCO and the Ministry will be held to identify and resolve challenges facing stevedore companies in the Port of Tema.
It will be recalled that early last week, the Times reported that the GPHA had suspended the implementation of a license agreement under which MPS was expected to handle all vessels carrying more than 50 containers to the port.
In the said report, Kwadwo Adansi Bonna, General Manager of GPHA, explained that though the implementation was based on the license agreement, it had not been approved by the GPHA.
This was after another media reports on the mounting tension at the port over the decision by GPHA to implement the contract with MPS.
Eight indigenous stevedoring companies had complained that the implementation of the contract would collapse their businesses and make about 3,000 workers jobless.
Under the contract, MPS would handle vessels with 50 and more containers.
The company has the technological advantage for quick turn around time for ships.