Meridian Port Services secures funding for Tema Port expansion

Accra, Sept. 2, GNA
– Meridian Port Services (MPS) has secured the required financing to execute
the Tema Port Expansion Project, enabling the development of an ultra-modern
port facility at Ghana’s primary commercial hub.

The project, valued
at USD 1.5 billion, in addition to serving Ghana, will also expand trade flows
and links across West Africa.

Meridian Port
Services Limited is a joint venture between the Ghana Ports and Harbours
Authority and Meridian Port Holdings Limited, with Bolloré Transport &
Logistics and APM Terminals as the two main shareholders.

“A vast continent,
with a rapidly growing population, Africa is still significantly
under-represented in world trade, currently accounting for less than five per
cent of global container trade.

“But the
establishment of modern port infrastructure such as this Tema Port expansion
will help link African markets to the global logistics chain and promote new
trade opportunities and economic growth” said Kim Fejfer, the Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) of APM Terminals.

MPS is executing
the project within the GPHA Master Plan for the development of Tema Port and
building upon its success and achievements under the Concession Agreement that
was granted in 2004, resulting in this latest massive expansion of Tema Port’s
capacity and infrastructure.

Philippe Labonne,
the Director General of Bolloré Transport & Logistics, said; “The new port
infrastructure and its future expansions will propel Ghana into the global best
in class, which will improve Ghana’s competiveness, facilitate trade growth and
improve tax collection”.

The project would
allow Tema Port to accommodate some of the world’s largest container ships and
improve cargo handling services and capacity which would enhance the port’s
competitiveness and position it as a leading maritime hub in West Africa.

The immediate cash
flow needs of the US$ 1.5 billion port development project is one billion
dollars. MPS has signed a $667 million financing package with the International
Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, while the MPS
shareholders will provide the rest of the funding as fresh equity amounting to
$333 million.

The financing
package for the construction of the port in Tema represents IFC’s largest port
investment and biggest infrastructure mobilisation to date in Sub-Saharan
Africa. It includes $195 million from the IFC’s own account and $472 million
from three commercial banks: the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial
Bank of China, and Standard Bank, as well as the Dutch development bank, FMO.

Dr Alhaji Asoma
Banda, the Chairman of the MPS Board, said the project would generate a vast
increase in employment opportunities in the country.

He said the
expansion works would create around 5,000 direct jobs with industry experts
estimating that the economic impact of such new infrastructure would translate
into approximately 450,000 new jobs.

Construction of the
harbour expansion project will begin on October 1, 2016 and projected to be
completed by the last quarter of 2019.

Mr Richard Anamoo,
the Director General of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, said: “This
expansion project takes the dream of our founding father Osagyefo Dr Kwame
Nkrumah to the next level and will remain for future generations to benefit
from.

Mohamed Samara, the
CEO of Meridian Port Services, said: “This project clearly displays the strong
commitment of MPS in the drive towards improving Ghana’s competitiveness as a
preferred destination for international trade and investment,” adding,” bigger vessels
means reduced freight charges, with significant savings and a tremendous
benefit to the shipping community of Ghana.”

He said at present,
the largest vessels which could dock at Tema Port are WAFMAX (West African
Maximum Vessels) which can carry between 4,500 and 5,000 container Twenty-Foot
Equivalent Units (TEUs).

The impending
expansion would, among other things, increase the depth of the harbour, and add
four deep-water berths, a breakwater and a new access channel, enabling the
port to accommodate vessels of up to 20,000 TEU capacity.

GNA

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