WASHINGTON: Construction work has begun on the new $1.5bn container terminal at the Port of Tema in Ghana at the start of January. The terminal will directly create 5,000 jobs. The terminal will be operated by Meridian Port Services (MPS), which is mainly owned by two giants of the African port sector, Bolloré Transport & Logistics and APM Terminals, plus Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019. The work will mainly be financed by the World Bank Group subsidiary International Finance Corporation (IFC), which has provided $667m, and MPS shareholders, who have fronted $333m.
The IFC will contribute $195m out of its own reserves and has borrowed the remaining $472m from Bank of China, Dutch development finance company FMO, South Africa’s Standard Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The new Ghanaian government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has promised to proceed with the project, which was sanctioned by his predecessor John Dramani Mahama. The principal contractor on the project is China Harbour Engineering Company, which is developing four berths, a 1.4km quay, a breakwater, container yard and new deepwater access channel.
US engineering firm AECOM is overseeing construction and providing design and procurement management services. The project will triple the port’s container handling capacity to 3m TEU, or standard sized containers, a year. This will make it the biggest container port in West Africa, much bigger than any existing port in Nigeria. MPS handled 646,000 TEU at Tema in 2015, about 80% of all containers that passed through the port. Project manager David Hanly says that AECOM will deploy managers from around the world on the venture, who “will work with our local Ghanaian specialists, who are well qualified in project controls, contract administration, construction management and environmental management. We have a truly multinational staff, representing nine nations and five continents.”