Work on the $1.5 million Tema Port expansion project will begin on October 1, 2016.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meridian Port Services (MPS), Mr Mohammed Samara, who announced this at a press conference in Tema last Wednesday, said AECOM Professional Services Limited would provide procurement management services and also supervise the construction process.
Upon completion, he said the port’s capacity would increase to accommodate vessels of up to 20,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU).
The project is being financed by MPS and its partner, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), through the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Mr Samara indicated that the project would improve Ghana’s competitiveness as a preferred destination for international trade and investment.
According to him, the nature of the project would allow the Tema Port to handle some of the world’s largest container vessels and further improve on cargo handling services and capacity.
“If you have a bigger port, you have bigger potentials in international trade which also opens up an avenue for more revenue streams for the economy,” Mr Samara said.
The Director-General of the GPHA, Mr Richard Anamoo, also emphasised that the project would be of significant benefit to Ghana.
According to him, an increase in vessel throughput would automatically result in an increase in import revenue for the country.
Answering questions on the $832 million tax waiver approved by Parliament for the project, an amount some have described as bloated, Mr Anamoo pointed out that issues about tax waivers were completely negligible in relation to the intent and purpose of the investment the partners were making in the project.
According to Mr Anamoo, in the present arrangement where the partners had to resort to the capital market to source their own funds, the waivers were the only guarantee for the financiers.
The Transport Minister, Mr Fifi Kwetey, said the project would create more job opportunities for the youth.