By Izuchukwu Ozoemena.
Plans to transform the Tema Port into a world-class facility to expand trade flows and links across West Africa are on course as Meridian Port Services (MPS), implementer of the ambitious project, has secured the required initial financing, reports from Ghana say. The Port of Tema is the largest port in Ghana. Situated on the eastern coast of the country, it stretches over a 3.9 million square metres of land area. The port receives an average of over 1650 vessel calls per year. These comprise container vessels, general cargo vessels, tankers, Ro-Ro and cruise vessels amongst many others.
85% of Ghana’s trade is done through the ports with shipping routes and vessel calls to and from all continents through both direct and transshipment services.
Valued at US$1.5billion, the port project is a joint venture between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), APM Terminals and Bolloré Transport & Logistics.
Having signed a US$667million project financing package, mobilized by IFC from a consortium of development finance institutions and commercial banks, MPS has now drawn down the first tranche of US$100million following fulfillment of the shareholders’ commitment to finance the project.
The financing package for the construction of a new port in Tema represents IFC’s largest port investment and biggest infrastructure mobilization to date in sub-Saharan Africa.
It includes US$195million from the IFC’s own account and US$472million from three commercial banks – the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Standard Bank as well as the Dutch development bank, FMO.
Mohamed Samara, CEO OF Meridian Port Services stated: “The construction works are progressing well and the commercial go-live on June 28th 2019 remains the target”.
MPS is executing the project within the GPHA Master Plan for development of Tema Port and building upon its success and achievements under the Concession Agreement that was granted in 2004, resulting in this latest massive expansion of Tema Port’s capacity and infrastructure.
The project will allow Tema Port to accommodate some of the world’s largest container ships and improve cargo handling services and capacity. These improvements will enhance the port’s competitiveness and position it as a leading maritime hub in the West African region.