Takoradi Jan.25,- GNA-Professor Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi, Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways on Wednesday proposed to Licensed Buying Companies (LBC) and private investors to construct warehouses for cocoa in the hinterland to offset the annual problem with the offloading of cocoa at the Takoradi Port.
He made the proposal when he paid a one-day visit to Takoradi Port. Professor Akumfi said cocoa purchased by the LBCs could be stored in the warehouses unt il space is available to offload it for export at the Takoradi Port.
He said congestion caused at the Port and on roads leading to the harbour by articulated trucks loaded with cocoa was because many of the trucks arrive when there was no space for them to discharge. Professor Akumfi said the Port authorities and the LBCs could work out a quota system that would indicate the time companies have to transport their cocoa to the Port for off-loading.
He said the Port could off-loading at least five articulated trucks a day but so many trucks have queued up at the road sides waiting for their turn.
Professor Akumfi said this creates the impression that Port authorities are inefficient, but this is not the case. He said two companies have expressed interest in establishing scanning facilities at the Takoradi Port.
Professor Akumfi said scanning facilities would make it possible to ascertain the content of container cargo without opening them for security reasons.
Mr George Bedu, Marketing and Customer Services Manager of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), said 699 vessels called at the Port last year as against 465 in 2004. He said in 2001, 493 vessels called at the Port and 463 in 2002 and 494 in 2003.
Mr Bedu said 288,794 metric tonnes of cocoa exports was handled at the Port in 2005 as against 328,961 metric tonnes in 2004. He said 140,669 metric tonnes of cocoa exports passed through the Port in 2001, 148,793 metric tonnes in 2002 and 157,090 metric tonnes in 2003.
Mr Bedu said 246,826 metric tonnes of transit traffic for landlocked countries arrived at the Port last year.
He said 169,258 metric tonnes of transit traffic was handled in 2004 as against 157,132 metric tonnes in 2003 and 18,912 metric tonnes in 2002. Mr Martinson Ankobiah, Ports Operations Coordinator said 200 metric tonnes African Wax Print arrived at the Port from September to December last year.