11.09.2004 Business & Finance

Takoradi Port to become gateway to the sub-region

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Takoradi, Sept. 11, GNA- Efforts to modernise operations at the Takoradi Port is yielding positive results and it is gradually becoming the preferred port for many shippers in West Africa.

If the trend continues, the Port would realise its objective to become the gateway to the sub-region, Mr Paul Asare-Ansah, Marketing Manager of the Port, said on Friday.

He was briefing a 19-member delegation of economic operators from Niger on the operations of the Takoradi Port and benefits users from the Sahelian regions would gain from it.

Mr Souleymane Djambouto, Niger shipping manager led the delegation, made up of top officers in the shipping, transport, port security and freight forwarding sectors.

They were to acquaint themselves with facilities and operations at the Port.

Mr Asare-Ansah said even though the modernisation programme at the Port was on-going, what has been done over the past few years had greatly improved services at the port.

He told the delegation that, high efficiency, improved security, and low tariffs coupled with relatively good road network from Takoradi to the northern parts of the country gave importers the comparative advantage to do business at the Takoradi Port.

The Port Marketing Manager said warehousing capacity is being expanded from the present 13,000 metric tons to 60,000 metric tons at a cost of 28 billion cedis.

The government is working to extend rail transport to the northern part of the country to enhance haulage of good to Burkina Faso and Niger, he said.

Mr Asare-Ansah said even though the Niger business community was introduced to the Takoradi Port only two-and-half years ago, their determination to use the port as a preferred point of call had been very encouraging.

Mr Nestor Paul Galley, Director of Takoradi Port in an address read for him, said the port has generated unprecedented amount of interest from the business communities in Ghana and other countries in the sub-region.

"This is mainly due to the fact that the Port is now seen as an alternative to Tema Port for imports and exports, in fact Takoradi Port is becoming vibrant with development and brimming with the potential for growth," he said.

Mr Djambouto said shippers in his country were interested to do business through the Takoradi Port and spoke about unauthorised road barriers and certain cumbersome procedures at some Customs and Police barriers that continued to be the source of worry to them. Niger's traffic through the Takoradi Port, which included bagged cargo, vehicles, machinery and equipment for the past two years stood at 74,235 metric tons. Ms Sacko Nafissa, a Senior Officer of the Niger Chamber of Commerce appealed to the authorities to remove bottlenecks that militate against smooth haulage of cargo.

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