Ghana's Sea Ports recorded an increase in transit traffic last year despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions.
The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) recorded transit traffic of 1.5 million metric tons in 2020 compared to 1.3 million in 2019.
Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manager in charge of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the GPHA, told the Ghana News Agency at the weekend that transshipment traffic in 2020 was 602,778 metric tons as compared to 90,158 metric tons in 2019.
Mrs Gyebi-Donkor said 229,650 metric tons of the transit traffic was from coastal countries, an indication of the strides Ghana's ports had made towards becoming the preferred trade and logistics hub in the sub-region.
"Out of the figure from the coastal countries, I can tell you for a fact that Abidjan is the highest. We have people coming from Lomé and a few from Benin. This should tell you that there is something special about Ghanaian ports," she indicated.
She said the Meridian Ports Services (MPS) Terminal 3 at the Tema Port helped Ghana to excel as three of its four berths were completed with a 16m draft and 1400m quay length, making it possible to cater for the largest vessels carrying 20,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) and beyond.
In addition to the terminal, investments in modern equipment such as seven Super Post Panamax Ship to Shore Gantry Cranes, and 20 Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes helped the Port to be capable to handle two million (2,000,000) TEUs per year.
Mrs Gyebi-Donkor said the availability of infrastructure, strategic geographic location, flexible port charges, top-notch security, labour efficiency, and deliberate policy direction made the Ports of Ghana attractive to its clients, including Ghanaian traders, economic operators from the landlocked Sahelian countries, and some importers and exporters from other coastal countries.
She said the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority was deliberate in the pursuance of customer-oriented policies and activities that woo the international trading community to use its ports.
"Our charges are preferably cheaper and the other incentives we give to them like the warehousing facilities. We have special arrangements where those who bring in huge volumes of transit cargo, are given 60 days instead of the usual 21 days to get their cargo out of the Port," she noted.
She said receipt and delivery charges at Ghana's ports were made cheaper to bring relief to the local trading community.