The newly-constructed Terminal Three of the Tema Port has started undergoing some final simulation exercise with the first vessel arriving at the port for the drill.
The vessel, which arrived at the new port last Wednesday, is expected to depart the terminal within the next seven days for a second vessel to arrive to complete the process.
The success of the full trial will determine the readiness of the new terminal for public use or not.
The terminal, according to Meridian Port Services (MPS) Limited, is scheduled to be operational on June 28, 2018 to become a shipping hub in the West African sub-region.
During a familiarisation tour of the new port June 3 in Tema, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MPS, Mr Mohamed Samara, stated that when the new port was completed, the Tema Port would be the biggest in the sub-saharan Africa (SSA).
"This project is huge and it will double the capacity of the port, it means more jobs, less cost and more efficiency. Initially, €300 was charged per ship in the anchoring due to congestion and that resulted in ships leaving for neighbouring countries.
“Currently, with berthing window arrangement, more ships are arriving daily and even on weekends and this has reduced sea freight to a thousand dollars per ship, multiply that by five hundred thousand ships that come into the country, that is about US$5 million for the Ghanaian economy," he said.
So far, he indicated, the project had reached its major milestone with the first part of the first phase expected to go live after which the second part would be operational by March 2020.
Construction work on the US$1.5 billion Tema Port Expansion Project started in October 2016 for completion of the first phase in the second quarter of 2019. The project will increase the capacity of the port to three times its current size.
The expansion project, constructed by MPS, is expected to provide 3.5 million TEUs in annual throughput capacity to the port.
When the GRAPHIC BUSINESS visited the site on June 3, work was almost done on the initial phase of the project.
The first part has 350 metres of key walls being part of the first phase built with six hectors of container yard.
It has inaugurated 12 megawatts power station while 350 metres of breakwater has been built.
Construction partner, the China Harbour Engineering Company, has also built 700 metres of sea wall with four million metric dredged harbour basins.
Seven seashore cranes, 89 metres high expected to pick and stack containers from super Panama vessels, about 23 rows deep containers, have also been completed.
The familiarisation tour organised by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) saw importers, exporters, manufacturers, freight forwarders and related service providers praising MPS for the state-of-the-art facilities at the new port.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GSA, Ms Benonita Bismarck, observed that the visit was not organised just for the purpose of offering stakeholders the opportunity to see the facilities at the port.
“But more importantly, because we reckon that the transition from the old terminal to this one will introduce some changes in the cargo flow processes, particularly for domestic and transit cargo within the new facility,” she said.
She explained that the new terminal three project was the outcome of huge investments.
According to her, the facility had the largest infrastructure and superstructure, advanced terminal operating systems, efficient port accessibility and highest berth availability to make it a hub for West Africa.