Tema, Nov. 07, GNA - The development of infrastructure at the Tema harbour has resulted in an increase in container traffic and the number of vessels calling at the port considerably between 2000 and 2004.
While 1,380 vessels called at the port in 2004 as against 1,160 in 2000, container traffic also doubled from 166,000 to 340,000 TUES within the same period, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister of Harbours and Railways stated at Tema on Monday.
He was commissioning a new tugboat, "Sakumo Lagoon" costing 4.577.500 million Euros to facilitate development at the Tema port. The tugboat with an overall length of 29.7 meters and a beam of 9.95 meters has the equivalent power of 4,750 horses and travel at a maximum speed of 14 knots or 25 kilometres per hour. It brings the number currently in operational to four and it was dedicated by Reverend Father George Canon Neequaye, Anglican Priest of Tema Joint Church.
The others are "Tema Manhean", "Ephraim Amu", and "Emmanuel Quist." Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi, noted that Ghana's ports have accepted the leadership challenge of the sub-region and have worked tirelessly to play her role as pace setters in port development amongst their regional competitors.
"This has been in response to the ever-increasing demand on our resources as the economy continues to grow and diversify." He said the ports capacity have to be increased to meet the demand in order to maintain the status as the preferred ports in the sub-region as well as having to live up to the expectations of our favourable economic environment.
The Minister said as part of its capacity development strategies, the Tema port has provided modern facilities to attract bigger and larger vessels of 60,000 tonnes to promote business. Among them are the increases in the berthing capacity by about 400 meters extra quay wall, dredging the access channel and the installation of ship-to-shore gantry cranes.
Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi commended the management and staff for their dedication and hardwork for making it possible to procure the boat. The dignitaries and some of the audience went on a thirty-minute cruise on the boat.