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28.07.2009 General News

GPHA overwhelmed by challenges …as D-G calls for Parliamentary support

By Richard Kofi Attenkah, Tema - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The acting Director General (DG) of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Mr. Nesta P. Galley, has appealed to members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, to help pass bills that will help to achieve the set objectives of the Authority.

According to him, the GPHA was confronted with a number of challenges that requires that certain amendments and new laws be put in place to ensure that Ghanaian ports are able to attain international standards to attract more patronage.

He disclosed that the Authority had lined up a number of programmes aimed at improving upon the standard of our ports, saying that until such legislative instruments were put in place, attaining them would be difficult.

The acting DG was addressing members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, who paid a working visit to the Tema Port last Thursday.

The visit was to afford the legislators the opportunity to learn at first-hand about operations at our ports, as well as appreciate the magnitude of the challenges our ports encounter.

Mr. Galley explained that in order to streamline some of its operations, which have come under scrutiny from the general public, including the delays in clearing goods at the port, there was the need to amend some of the existing laws, or enact new ones.

The Members of Parliament (MP) later toured the CCTC Scan Department, where all the monitoring activities at the port are done, the Meridian Port Services container terminal, where they were briefed on how the various heavy duty equipment, such as the gantry cranes and the ship to shore operate, and the axle load bridge terminal.

Briefing the MPs, the acting DG explained that as part of the long term development programme for the Tema port, a new container terminal, estimated to cost about $550 million to bring the port to the standard required, is expected to be constructed.

Mr. Galley disclosed that a number of private companies had expressed interest in the project, saying that they were still waiting to see the next line of action to take.

The GPHA boss noted that since the Takoradi port was the nearest commercial port in Ghana to our newly-discovered oil fields, there was the need to provide certain facilities that would make the port serviceable to the offshore oil production.

He mentioned “Deep draft berthing facilities for vessels bringing plant and equipment for the oil field, office accommodation for the oil companies, open and covered storage facilities for the production materials and pipes, free zone area for production materials, as some of the facilities the GPHA was planning to provide at Takoradi.”

The rest are area for pipe welding, supply of fresh water, bunkering facilities for supply vessels, repair facilities for of oil rigs, repair facilities for supply vessels, berthing (space) for the supply vessels, cranes for handling of plant and materials, and trained workforce for stevedoring of plant and machinery from vessels

According to him, as part of the master plan for the development of Takoradi port the old log pond has been earmarked for reclamation and development into oil services facility to support the offshore oil production in the short term.

The project, which is estimated to cost US$50 million would involve dredging of the area to 7.0m, land reclamation, paving works (about 25 ha), relocation of the cocoa sheds outside the port, and construction of about 500m quay walls, and a 650m oil berth with 10m draft.

He disclosed that there was need for us, as a nation, to enforce the law onhaulage companies to take charge of cargoes at our ports, rather than leaving that important aspect of our transport segment of our shipping industry in the hands of individuals who don't pay their drivers' salaries, thus forcing them to overload their vehicles.

He appealed to the MPs to help amend those existing laws that were not helping the Authority to work smoothly, and also assist in enacting new laws to facilitate operations at the ports.

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