Accra, Nov 8, GNA - Over 100 million dollars have so far been invested in port development to enhance operations at the nation's ports, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister of Harbours and Railways said on Tuesday.
He mentioned activities including dredging works, quay extension works, container terminal development and acquisition of container handling equipment as projects that fell within the 100-million investment package.
Briefing the media on activities of the Ministry at the Meet-The-Press series in Accra, Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi said the ongoing investment projects were embarked upon to restructure and reform the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to completely change it from a service port to a Landlord Ports Authority.
The Minister indicated that owing to the crucial role that ports played in the national economy, the Ministry through the GPHA was undertaking the projects on its own to help to remove every bottleneck in port development to ensure its growth.
He said the upsurge of container traffic and transit cargo had also created serious congestion at the ports, therefore, various works involving a quay extension by 200 metres to a quay length of 500 meters would provide quick dispatch to vessels when they berthed at the port while the dredging works would facilitate easy accessibility of third generation container vessels to the Tema Port.
"The completion of the devaning area will resolve the congestion problem since every container and vehicle will find its way out of the port immediately they were discharged", Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi noted. He, however, said the phase two of the container terminal project, comprising the receipt/delivery area, administration block, IT centre and stacking area would be completed by the middle of next year. On security, the Minister said the Ports of Tema and Takoradi had largely met the basic requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, which came into force for all the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea contracting Governments in July 2004.
He said the GPHA had particularly erected perimeter walls around the Ports and installed close circuit television cameras for surveillance, monitoring and control of activities within the Port environ as well as security systems that recorded the registration number of every vehicle that entered the ports.
Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi announced that the Ministry was sourcing for alternative funds to support the government-sponsored project of a 50 room four-storey dormitory block for the Regional Maritime Academy that fell under the Sector Ministry.
The Maritime Academy is a regional Institution that trains personnel for the maritime industry in the West Africa Sub-Region. Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Information, chaired the briefing, which was also attended by all the Executive Directors of agencies and departments that came under the Ministry of Harbours and Railways, comprising the Ghana Shippers Council, the Regional Maritime Academy, the GPHA, the Ghana Railway Company Limited and the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited. 8 Nov. 05