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A LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TEMA PORT EXPANSION

    Recent news about the expansion plans of the Tema port has come at no better time than now due to the current shifts in shipping trends across the globe towards developing and emerging economies of which West Africa and for that matter Ghana is no exception.

   The expansion works at the Tema port when completed is supposed to enable the port accommodate larger vessels pulling up to about 16 meters deep draft. This would ultimately increase cargo through put and strategically position the port as a gateway into the sub region.

expansion project at the Tema port
an artist impression of the Tema port expansion

  However, one very important aspect worth considering is that, larger vessels would not necessarily call at a nation’s port just because it has deep enough berths to accommodate it.

  In fact carriers’ decision to call at a port includes  certain determinants among which the port of call’s ability to generate enough cargo to feed this large vessels is paramount. This is necessary to minimize the instances where a vessel returns empty laden.

  Even though the port currently has been recording impressive throughput with projections of the expansion works bringing in as much as 3.5 million TEUs, it should be noted that this figures are arrived at taking into consideration all container movements through the port whether full or empty. It is therefore sad to know that currently at the Tema port, a typical container vessel could discharge about 700 full boxes and load just about 300 with more than half being empty.

Also ReadThe Master Plan For The Tema Port Expansion

    Generating cargo for vessels that call at our ports is very important and with the expansion of the port even larger vessels would call at the ports and its very important that the nation starts putting in the right measures to generate cargo internally by boosting our existing export commodities and delving into new areas of export commodities.

 Another area the nation can leverage upon to boost the amount of cargo generated through the port is its transit trade. Winning a great amount of transit trade (not only import but exports as well) could  help increase the amount of cargo generated trough the nations corridors into the port. This can be achieved through effective hinterland connectivity into the landlocked countries which is currently inadequate. Therefore, the early completion of the Boankra inland port is very crucial as this single project if finally linked to the Tema port by rails would help the country win significant amount of transit trade from its  main competitor ports in the sub region.

   In fact, great ports like Antwerp (Belgium) and Harmburg (Germany) have been known to generate a greater percentage of their container throughput through effective hinterland connectivity making them the great gateway ports they are today.

  The nation from now should begin to take the necessary steps to ensure enough cargo is generated through the ports to feed the larger vessels projected to call at the Tema port with the completion of expansion works.

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  • Good point and indeed Hinterland connections are key to the success of a port and the development of the nation. From the information I have it appears that Ghana understood this and linked the development of hinterland connections to the new port concession agreement with APM Terminals / Bollore PPP consortium. Next step is to encourage investment for Extended Gate / Inland Depots at Inland keypoints close to export captura area’s as indeed imbalance is one of the – still – largest obstacles to cost efficient operations. It can be done – see San Pedro – juts requires a joint Private / Public policy.
    Success with Tema development
    Gunther Ginckels
    gginckels@seasc4u.be

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