Contrary to the defeatist claims by the opposition NDC, the Akufo-Addo government is vigorously pursuing the Keta Port project, with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) initiating a feasibility study in a deal with an association of consultants led by a German firm, M/s Sellhorn Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH.
The other consultants are ProTeln Service GmbH, PSP Architekten, Ingenieure and a Ghanaian team from Yogarib Engineering Services Limited.
The parties executed the consulting services contract on June 9, 2020, marking “a major milestone towards the realisation of the development of the new Port of Keta,” according to a release from GPHA.
The signing ceremony was conducted through video conferencing between the GPHA team in Tema and the consultant’s team in various parts of Germany.
The appointed consultant is expected to expedite work to deliver a full feasibility study and master plan, including development and investment strategy for the port. The first feasibility indicators are expected within seven months.
NDC youth doubt
The youth wing of the National Democratic Congress in the Volta region, at the weekend, called on residents in the region to disregard government’s narratives about the project.
Addressing a press conference at the site of the project, the NDC Regional Youth Organiser, Mathias Alagbo, claimed that Akufo-Adodo government had been “dishonest, full of innuendos and has failed in keeping a promise they made in the run-up to the 2016 general elections”.
At the ceremony to sign the contract for the feasibility studies, the Director General of GPHA, Michael Luguje, acknowledged the limitations imposed on all parties in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The emergence of COVID-19 delayed the final signing of the feasibility contract, which should have taken place in the first quarter of the year.
Fortunately, GPHA says efficient measures have been put in place to address such hurdles, going forward.
Mr Luguje is confident that his team “will take all necessary steps to employ their best professional abilities to deliver the terms of the contract since the Port of Keta is an important development agenda for the government.”
Meanwhile, the Director of the Port of Keta, Dr Alexander Yaw Adusei Jnr, has commended GPHA’s management for “the committed investment in the project” and the success in appointing a consultant through a professionally well-conducted and transparent process, saying this “will aid the commencement of the most critical part of the development of the Keta Port.”
He is optimistic that the Volta Region “will soon have a modern port and maritime logistics hub for Ghana and a strategic cargo route through the Volta Region and the Eastern Corridor for Ghana’s northern neighbours.”
The project development process, according to GPHA, “could span two decades, even with the consistent duty of care covering the provision of all the structures – physical, operational, administrative, legal, etc., – to facilitate cargo throughput and related supply chain activities within a normal port cluster.”
“The realisation of Keta Port is beginning with the master plan and feasibility studies’ consulting services…. Extensive multi-stakeholder engagement sessions are expected to be conducted during the feasibility study period, including market search, investment shows, etc. It is anticipated that in the absence of any major delays attributable to the Covid-pandemic, the studies will be completed by February 2021 with investment strategy plan for the port’s development,” the release added.
Giving a historical background to the project, GPHA’s statement said “before the advent of the Port of Takoradi and Port of Tema, there were sufferance ports sited at Cape Coast, Accra, Keta, Sekondi, and Axim.”
Ships calling at these ports were anchored offshore and their cargoes transferred, utilizing lighters and surf boats. Owing to the dangerous surfing, the sufferance ports were found to be unsuitable and inadequate to cope with the fast-expanding trade of the country.
By 1919, it had become clear that the low capacity sailing ships with low draft could no longer cope with the heavy evacuation of cocoa from the hinterland to the Ports of Accra, Winneba, Sekondi, and Cape Coast.
This necessitated the decision to build a deep-sea harbour capable of accommodating high capacity iron ships then emerging from shipyards in Europe. The Port of Takoradi was therefore born on April 3, 1928, with the commissioning of Port of Tema in 1962.
The interest in the Port of Keta was postponed until the early days of 2009 after the Keta Sea Defence project along with the heightened interest in the development of marine facilities for the then budding oil and gas exploration interests in Ghana.
The idea was also highly sustained in 2011-2012 due to the commercial viability of the fish landing site prospects in Keta. Over time, various port development interests have approached the GPHA to execute a Keta Port project.
“The development of a port facility of this kind is driven by several factors, primarily in response to population growth and related consumption/production profiles. Businesses are developed from defined cargo portfolio and then viabilities are established to justify the technical and other related feasibilities for the development.
“Such development may be solely public sector-driven or other forms with national and international private investment partners,” GPHA noted in its release.
Source: Daily Statesman