Ghanaians welcomed the news of the Tema port expansion project which is a laudable idea and has the potential of effectively positioning the Tema port as a Gateway into the sub region.
A critical look at the current global shipping trends indicates a surging increase in Sino-African trade with even greater projections into the future .The development of intra-emerging economies trade is expected to cause a change in global trade focus towards developing economies and also there is a great amount of south-south trade ( e.g. West Africa – Oceania, West Africa-East Africa). All these shipping trends indicates the need for the development of modern and bigger ports to handle the increasing volumes of trade .
Another very critical factor worth considering is the expansion of the Panama canal which would adversely affect the size of ports around the globe. The expansion of the Tema port has therefore come at an opportune time.
As can be seen from the figure above , the entire master plan is a very ambitious project which when completed could add almost 3 times the size of the current port and would undoubtedly make the Tema port a force to be reckoned with in the sub region (NB the red arrow indicates the break water of the current port ).
The project would be executed gradually in different phases .The initial phase according to the port authority would include the creation of 4 new berths Two berths are expected to be ready by October, 2016 while the rest are projected to be completed by December, 2018 . this project is being under taken by a joint partnership with the Meridian Ports Service which fits perfectly well into the GPHA’s master plan prospects for the Tema port. The completion of this project is expected to raise cargo throughput at the port to about 3.5 million TEUs.
The prospects of this expansion is great and would lead to lots of container traffic into the country (ceteris paribus). Ghanaians therefore needs to position themselves strategically to benefit from such a huge project, there would be the need for more logistics services, engineering services, cleaning service, stevedores etc that would come along with this project from the construction stage through the finishing and to the operation stage. In fact more container traffic would mean more vessels hence more ship chandelling and other auxiliary services.
Ghanaian’s should from now begin to acquire the required training and education in order to possess the necessary skills needed to work in such sectors . Local entrepreneurs and companies should position themselves to take advantage of this project to ensure the much needed local participation and improve the standard and quality of life in the country.