The government is seeking to select a private-sector player for the development and operation of the Keta Port by the end of this year.
Currently, six firms have been shortlisted to submit request for proposals (RFP) for the project.
The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori-Asiamah, who made this known at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra yesterday, said the government wanted to do away with the hybrid form of port development and operation, where the port authority was a regulator and at the same time operator.
He said actual construction would commence in January 2024, on completion of the investor-selection process.
The Keta Port, he said, was expected to be a service port with a full range of cargo processing functions, including inspection and verification.
Mr Ofori-Asiamah said from the feasibility studies, the Keta Port would operate as a landlord port, with the public authority not handling cargo but being a regulator only.
“Private sector operators will develop and operate the various terminals and handle vessels and cargo, while the government is expected to make basic investments, including the administration building to house the port authority and other port service tenants,” he said.
He said the RFP for the construction of the administration block was underway to allow for physical construction works to take off by July 2023.
There has been public outcry over the delay in the execution of the port project.
This has been so especially following the declaration of the area by an Executive Instrument in 2018 as a port and the subsequent appointment of a director to oversee the processes surrounding the project.
Whereas critics of the government believed the project, as a Greenfield port (entirely new port), was not viable, considering its closeness to the Lome Port, which plays host to international shipping lines for the transhipment of goods, the minister had maintained that the feasibility studies had proved the project’s viability and profitability, considering the country’s decision to exploit its iron ore deposits for export.
Maritime and Inland waterways
Giving an update on developments within the maritime and transport sector, the minister said the completion of work on the 16-metre draft Dry Bulk Terminal at the Takoradi Port last year had improved operational efficiency at that port, allowing it to increase its work load and revenue generation.
Mr Ofori-Asiamah also announced that phase one works on the Boankra Inland Port were at about 30 per cent complete, with the hope that a full completion would help decongest the Tema Port and bring import and export services closer to the doorstep of shippers in the middle and the northern parts of the country, as well as neighbouring landlocked countries.
On the new fishing ports under construction, he pointed out that works at the Jamestown Fishing Harbour were about 60 per cent complete, while those at Elmina, which include facilities such as two new breakwaters, a new quay wall (retention area for docking of vessels) with a total length of 400 metres, a new administration building, a fish market, among others, were fully completed.
He also mentioned additional construction works on coastal fishing landing sites at 12 locations across the country, which he said would complement existing facilities to help address challenges such as inadequate storage facilities, high post-harvest losses and unhygienic conditions confronting the artisanal fishing sector.
“These projects will enable us to address these challenges to support the growth of the fishing industry, create job opportunities and help build vibrant communities along the coast,” he said.
In the aviation sector, he said a feasibility studies to determine a suitable location for a new airport in either the Central or the Western region or in between the two were being finalised.
He said the phase three upgrade works on the Kumasi Airport, which include aerobridges, were also about 89 per cent complete, while those on the Tamale Airport, which include the construction of a new terminal building, a multi-purpose terminal and access roads connecting the airport to the Tamale-Bolgatanga highway, had been completed for use.
Road accidents worrying
Mr Ofori-Asiamah expressed worry over the increasing road crashes.
He said provisional figures showed that road crashes, injuries and fatalities as of December 2022 stood at 14,960, 15,690 and 2,373, respectively.
The minister called on stakeholders to step up efforts to minimise road crashes across the country.
He also announced the procurement of new fleets for the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) to augment those in use.