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28.06.2004 Business & Finance

Haulers ask COCOBOD to construct more warehouses

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Takoradi, June 28, GNA - Haulage truck operators engaged in the evacuation of cocoa from the hinterland to the Takoradi Harbour have called on the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), as a matter of urgency, to construct more warehouses at Takoradi for the storage of cocoa and other commodities for shipment.

The truck operators made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Takoradi at the weekend.

Nana Akwasi Edusei-Poku, spokesman for the group, said the absence of warehouse facilities at the Takoradi Port had led to the perennial congestion of the Port area and other parts of the Sekondi-Takoradi Twin City with trucks loaded with cocoa.

He stressed that the provision of more warehouse facilities would save them from undue delays in offloading the beans at the Ports. Nana Edusei-Poku said at present they spent several weeks waiting to offload their goods, adding that the situation was causing serious financial loss to them.

"The provision of warehouses at Takoradi is long overdue in view of the large volume of cocoa and other goods being moved to the Port," he said.

Meanwhile, local commercial drivers and commuters plying the Takoradi Port business area have expressed concern about the heavy congestion on the streets caused by the cocoa haulage trucks.

Mr Adjei Boadi, a cabbie, said the congestion posed a great danger to both motorists and pedestrians doing business in the area. Both drivers and passengers also appealed to COCOBOD and the GPHA to consider acquiring tracks of land at the outskirts of Takoradi to construct warehouses for the haulers.

In an interview, Mr P.A. Galley, Director of Takoradi Port, explained that the provision of warehouses to store cocoa was not the responsibility of the GPHA but the sole responsibility of COCOBOD or the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC).

He admitted that the congestion of the port area had become a problem and gave the assurance that some measures were being taken to solve the problem.

Mr Galley disclosed that the GPHA was in the process of acquiring land near Takoradi Port to build warehouses not for cocoa but for storage of other goods.

When contacted, the Western Regional Manager of the Cocoa Marketing Company, Mr Akuffo Badu refused to talk to the reporter on the congestion of the port, explaining that he had been directed by his head office not to grant interview to journalists and that reporters should contact Accra for the necessary explanation.