A new container berth for the first phase of the $1.5 billion Tema Port expansion project would open for business on Friday, June 28.
Work on the 1,000 metres quay wall (three berths) is 90 per cent complete, with seven ships to shore (STS) cranes and 20 electric gantry cranes already installed.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meridian Port Services (MPS) Limited, Mr Mohammed Samara, disclosed this on Friday when he conducted shippers round the project.
The visit coincided with the endurance testing of the huge STS cranes and the electric gantry cranes at the container berth to ensure that the equipment were working as expected.
The high-tech STS cranes are super-post Panamax with capacity of servicing the world’s largest vessels (66 metres outreach capable of handling containers up to the vessels’ 23rd row and over 10 containers high on deck).
The STS cranes at the old port handled containers up to the vessels 17th row.
The new cranes are fitted with twin-lift spreaders with up to 65 tonnes.
The new terminal has a vessel draft of 16 metres as compared to 11.2 metres and 11.5 metres in the old port this means the largest ships can berth here.
“The sophisticated port handling equipment and state of the art port technology being installed would in effect make the Tema Port, the hub port on the western coastline of Africa, one of the best on the continent,” Mr Samara said.
That, he said would eliminate congestion and maximise efficiency levels without compromising on security at the port.
“The array of vessels arriving at the new port would bring volumes of transshipment cargo to Tema and catapult transit cargo trade to a new height,” he said.
The MPS currently employs 1,000 Ghanaians and 200 more are expected to be added when operation of the first phase starts.
The berth would initially handle 1,000,000 20- footer equivalent units (TEUs) but on completion of the second phase the port would have a total throughput capacity of 3.7 million TEUs annually.
The expansion works which began in October 2016 has so far constructed 3,550m long breakwater, 1,000m (out of 1,400m) long quay wall, office for the authorities and all the supporting services, office for MPS from which the port would be managed and workshop for the maintenance and repair of equipment among other things.
The CEO of MPS indicated that the new MPS terminal facility would be the largest port infrastructure and superstructure in the region.
He assured that MPS would continue to accomplish its core mandate of delivering maritime efficiency in all of its operations.
One of the STS operators, Isaac Appiah, said the new equipment were an improvement on the ones in the old port.
Rob Oram from the Shipping Line, PIL, said he was highly impressed about the scale of machinery being installed by MPS and looks forward to lots of opportunities as they bring their ships to Tema.
MPS is a joint venture between the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and Meridian Port Holdings Limited, with Bollore Transport and Logistics and APM.
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA.