Shippers angry over Boankra delays
Members of the Ashanti Regional shipping community are livid over delays in the completion of the Boankra Inland Port project, which is expected to link the two major ports in the country to the northern regions.
At a meeting of the Ashanti Regional Shipper Community, in Kumasi, members expressed fears that the level of deterioration of existing structures at the site could lead to their collapse if an immediate intervention is not made, within the next two years.
Successive government, the shippers said, have not shown enough commitment to the project, which has been on the table for some 16 years.
The railway forms a major component of the project as the port would rely on the railway system to cart cargo to other parts of the country and also help the importers cut down on the cost of transportation while reducing the pressure on the road transport system.
But given the increasing delay of the completion of the project, the shippers suggested that the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) should temporarily allow the flow of cargo to Boankra even as government rolls out its railways rehabilitation project.
The shippers also suggested that government should send people to understudy the inland port model of Burkina Faso, which is being operated without a rail system, as part of temporal arrangements to operationalise the Boankra port, instead of waiting for the completion of the rail network.
Thus, members of the shipping community were urged by the Chairman of Regional Shippers Committee, Mr. Joseph Amoah, to come up with ideas on how the facility could be utilised at the moment, as a preventive measure to its deterioration.
Meanwhile, a five-member committee, with the Ashanti Regional Manager of GSA, Mr. Emmanuel Kwarteng, serving as secretary, was set-up to follow up on the development of the facility as well as engage all the relevant stakeholders and institutions on the project.
The project is said to be part of an important "multi-modal transport infrastructure development plan," to improve the rail link between Tema and Kumasi, as well as enhance the operational efficiency of both the Tema and Takoradi ports.
When completed, the Boankra inland port will facilitate trade, by bringing import and export services closer to the people, especially shippers in the Ashanti Region and beyond.
This will not only ease transit of cargo locally but also aid Ghana's transit trade with landlocked countries in the Sub-region, and thereby make the country a major trade hub.
The Ghana Shippers Authority acknowledges that the facility, which sits on a 400-acre plot of land, will "reduce generalised transport cost of international cargo to importers and exporters from the middle and northern parts of Ghana, including the Sahel sub-region."
It will as well contribute to ensuring "increased exportation of produce such as cola nuts, shea-butter, cocoa and cocoa products, wood, and wood products," among others.
The shipping community is hopeful that the creation of the Ministry of Railways Development and the realignment of the Ministries of Roads and Transportation would bring about a revival of the project. But, as it stands now, no public pronouncement has been made about work resuming on the project any time soon.