A 200-million dollar inland port network for the transportation of cargo and fuel from Tema port to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso is to be constructed along Lake Volta, beginning next year.
The three-year “Trans-Volta Logistics Project (TVLP)” which is an initiative of LMI Holdings, a Ghanaian industrial conglomerate, would involve the construction of two container ports along the lake’s inland waterway to link the two cities.
The ports would be established at Mpakadan in the Eastern Region and Debre in the Savannah Region with a 400-kilometre freight barge route connecting them in addition to a logistics and industrial park at Dabre.
The group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LMI Holdings, Mr Kojo Aduhene disclosed these at a stakeholder engagement held at Senchi in the Eastern Region on Tuesday to solicit the views of the chiefs and opinion leaders of Akwamu and other areas in whose jurisdiction the Mpakadan port (to be named Akwamu Port upon completion) would be constructed.
He said the project would be done in phases, starting with the 120 acre Mpakadan port which would aid the movement of about 50,000 twenty footer containers annually, when ongoing engagements with various stakeholders and other preparatory works were completed.
Currently, he said the company was engaging with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding environmental impact assessment and permit as well as the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and Volta River Authority (VRA) concerning a concession agreement.
Giving the breakdown of the estimated cost, which would be borne by local and international investors, Mr Aduhene said marine assets would cost $40 million; port infrastructure, $60 million while bulk fuel infrastructure and access infrastructure, would cost $50 million each.
According to him, the project would create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the residents of communities around the project sites including service providers and manufacturers of inputs as well as individuals with specialised skills across the country.
Aside from creating competitive freight transportation, he said the project would boost industrialisation of the northern sector of the country, enhance cross-border trade and regional integration, reduce cost in annual road repairs by the government due to damage caused by heavy vehicles that transport cargo as well as decrease traffic congestion and air pollution in urban centres.
“It will position the Port of Tema as the leading transit hub in West Africa and enhance revenue mobilisation for Ghana and Burkina Faso,” he said.
Mr Aduhene therefore urged the chiefs and people of Akwamu and surrounding areas to cooperate with them to boost the development of the area, assuring that appropriate resettlement of the residents within the project site would be done in due course.
The Paramount Chief of Akwamu Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III welcomed the project saying it would help transform the area and open it up for development.
While calling for cooperation from residents of the area and promising to resolve grievances that may come up, he urged LMI Holdings to work diligently and honour its developmental promises.
Government representative on the project and former Chief Executive Officer of GPHA, Mr Paul Ansah said he would ensure the project benefited the community.
FROM JONATHAN DONKOR, SENCHI