Dredging works of the port basin of the Takoradi Port, under the multipurpose container terminal has commenced in Takoradi to create a deeper depth to make it easier for bigger vessels to dock at the port.
The dredging works would see the depth increase to 16 metres from the current 11 metres, while an approximate one million cubic metres of hard materials would be dredged under Phase one of the project to create space for bigger vessels to dock at the facility.
The project in collaboration with IbisTek Ltd and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) will pave the way for the construction of a-600 metre-long quay wall for the berthing of large container vessels with an annual container output of one million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs).
The Total cost of the project made up of "Upgrade and Expansion of the Port of Takoradi" is $500 million and would be completed by November 2021, with the phase one being implemented at the cost of $206 million.
The dredging works is being done by the Cutter Suction Dredger (CSD), which comes in handy for the removal of hard and very hard material from the bottom of the sea and is expected to end in April 2020.
Additionally, CSD, also known as CSD Zhen He, is executing the dredging works on the berth pocket to depth 16 and the basin to 18.6 metres.
In an interview with journalists after a tour of the project, the Director of Takoradi Port, Captain Ebenezer Afadzi, indicated that the increase in depth from 11meters to 16 meters was significant and would help transform business at the port.
He said the Atlantic Terminal Services expansion project also meant attracting more and bigger vessels to berth at the Takoradi Port thus positioning the facility for increased traffic and productivity.
"When the facility is completed and expanded, Takoradi Port can now handle bigger vessel which hitherto go elsewhere like Cote d'Ivoire. This will be a thing of the past and hopefully by November 2021, it would be ready for use," he added.
Captian Afadzi said turn-around time and cargo handling would be enhanced so that vessels did not spend longer time after berthing, predicting that "revenue is also key in the fortunes of the Takoradi Port".
Shippers and shipping lines, he said, required ample time to enable them plan their usage or patronage of port facilities such as the Atlantic Terminal.
He said the project would transform and uplift the image of the Takoradi Port.
The Director of Takoradi Port said: "We are reclaiming land of about 62 hectares with the dredging materials and that's going to transform the Takoardi Port and we believe IbisTek, a Ghanaian company would deliver. Let people know that the Takoradi Port will have bigger container terminals and a depth of 16 meters. Indeed, this is a test case and we hope we can do better".
The Chairman of the Board of IbisTek, Mr Kwame Gyan, said the collaboration with GPHA to transform the 1928 port was significant and would position it as the preferred port in the West African sub-region.
"We are now masters and we are ready to reverse the fortunes of the country's port and businesses. The job economy will improve and we shall see an increased activity in the maritime value chain both direct and indirect," he added.
The Chief Executive for IbisTek and Atlantic Terminal, Dr Nana Sackey, also said "we have the capacity because we are fully prepared. Indeed, we are ahead of schedule because we know what we are doing".
For his part, Mr Calin Andreescu, Project Manager of Jan De Nul, told journalists that 4,200 concrete blocks had been moulded to build the 600 meter sea wall and assured that by April the project would take shape for full completion next year.
The Atlantic Terminal is being developed by Ibistek Ghana Limited at a cost of $500 million, under a concession agreement with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.
It marks the very first-time a wholly owned Ghanaian firm has been engaged in port development in the country.
The terminal will have a cargo holding space of one million twenty-footer equivalent units (TEUs), an upscale from the average container traffic of about 55,000 TEUs a year.
The project is being financed by the African Finance Group (AFC), the Ghana Infrastructure Fund and other partners.
It is expected to generate nearly a million jobs during the construction works, about 400 permanent jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs would be created before and after completion of the project.