The ongoing expansion of ports in the West African sub-region will lead to a reduction in the freight rates paid by Ghanaian shippers.
These investments at the ports would attract larger vessels, which, in turn, would exert downward pressure on freight rates.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meridian Port Services (MPS), Mr Mohamed Samara, made this known at a Breakfast Meeting dubbed ‘Time with MPS’ organised by the Greater Accra Shipper Committee (GASC).
Highlighting substantial investments in port infrastructure across the West African sub-region, Mr Samara cited Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Senegal and Nigeria as countries with ambitious port development plans.
“West Africa has seen substantial investments. We initiated this trend in Ghana with our grand vision to build a larger port. Abidjan quickly followed and Lekki in Nigeria, along with Dakar looked at upgrading their port facilities.
“These ports will compete, not only for transshipment but also for accommodating mega-ships with capacities of up to 18,000 TEU,” he disclosed.
He emphasised that multiple ports handling such large vessels would inevitably lead to a reduction in freight rates.
Regarding the establishment of the MPS Terminal Three (3), Mr. Samara highlighted the elimination of congestion surcharges.
According to him, this positive change followed the introduction of a system [berthing window] that designates specific time slots for each shipping line to dock.
“Previously, in Tema, the congestion surcharge was 500 euros for half a million TEUs, which was a significant cost for shippers. Removing such surcharges enhances trade facilitation and contributes to economic stability in the West African region,” he added.
These developments, according to him, are anticipated to enhance trade facilitation and bring about greater economic stability among West African nations.
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismarck, expressed appreciation for the collaborative efforts between GARSC, specifically acknowledging the Education and Research Sub-committee and the GSA for coordinating the meeting.
She expressed confidence that the ongoing dialogue is anticipated to make a substantial contribution towards enhancing and improving services within the shipping sector.
The GARSC Breakfast Meeting aimed to spotlight the innovations, opportunities, and challenges within MPS operations and address the concerns of the Terminal’s users. The event was attended by importers, exporters, and key Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
Richard Aniagyei, ISD