The expansion work taking place at the Takoradi Port is yielding dividend as bigger vessels are now berthing to load bulk minerals.
So far, two vessels, MV Josco Fuzhou, which is 197 metres in length and MV Iris Oldendorf, which has a length of 200 metres, have birthed this month at the new baulk jetty at the port, to load bauxite.
MV Josco Fuzhou on January 6, birthed at the port while MV Oldendorf birthed on January 18, and sailed to China on January 29.
In an interview with The Ghanaian Times, the Manager of the Public Affairs and Marketing Department at the Takoradi Port, Peter Amoo-Bediako, explained that MV Josco Fuzhou had the initial load of 37,760 metric tonnes at the number 3 buoy and was shifted to the new bulk jetty to top-up with 13,367 metric tonnes of bauxite, increasing finally with a load of 51,127 metric tonnes and left on January 16, for the port of Nantong, China.
He said, MV Iris Oldendorf did not berth at buoy number 3 for the initial loading, but was piloted to the new jetty to commence loading of 63,000 metric tonnes of bauxite, bringing the total load up to 114,127 metric tonnes of bauxite compared to a maximum of about 75,000 metric tonnes of bauxite loaded at the buoys in the old port.
Mr. Amoo-Bediako indicated that the new breeze of life at the Takoradi Port had been achieved because of the completion of the first 200 metres out of the proposed 800 metres at Bulk Ore Terminal which had now been opened to traffic to handle bulk mineral ore.
“It must be noted that since 1928 when the Takoradi Port commenced business these vessels are the largest that have called at the port in respect of size and draft. The berth pockets of the bulk jetty have been dredged as part of the expansion project,” Mr. Amoo-Bediako added.
He told The Ghanaian Times that loading would continue to be done through the barges from the GHACEM jetty and grabs, using the vessel cranes until the full complement of the bulk jetty, including the storage area and installations of conveyor belts and pavement were completed.
Ideally, he said, the old port handled up to 80,000 metric tonnes, but with the ongoing expansion works, the facility was ready to welcome bigger ships from 200 metres up to 800 metres.
“It’s good for the Takoradi Port. If at -16 metres draft and 200 metres, bigger vessels are now calling then with the 800 metres, more vessels will call for bulk loads, including bauxite. It’s good dividends for the economy and we will rake in more revenue. It’s also important for imports and exports. It’s also about increased productivity because of increased traffic,” Mr. Amoo-Bediako said.
Captain of MV Josco Fuzhou, Shi Guowen said: “We faced no challenges during pilotage at buoy number three to the new bulk jetty.”
On his part, the Captain of MV Iris Oldendorf, Captain Salvatore, said pilotage was smooth with very strong and goods tugs which made it safe for vessel maneuvering.
From Clement Adzei Boye, Takoradi