Isn’t the Boankra Inland Port long overdue?
The Boankra Inland Port project was tabled down some 16 years ago to serve the noble purpose of connecting the upper part of the country to the ports of Tema and Takoradi and by extension, opening up the rural economy.
Unfortunately, several years down the line, the project which appears to have the buy-in of almost all the stakeholders in the maritime transport and logistics chain has not seen the light of day, except for some structures and facilities, which the paper gathers, are fast deteriorating.
The Ghana Shippers Authority, who is the project custodian, acknowledges that the facility, which sits on a 400-acre land, will "reduce generalised transport cost of international cargo to importers and exporters from the middle and northern parts of Ghana, bolster transit trade and create jobs along the chain.
The B&FT has gathered that shipping community in the mid-part of the country, in whose interest the facility will better serve, are unhappy that the project has somewhat stalled because "successive governments have not shown enough commitment."
But looking at the economic viability and prospect of the project to their business, they are genuine concerns to express.
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.
President Akufo-Addo's creation of a specific ministry to handle the rail sector got shippers a bit more upbeat about the revival and completion of the project.
It is quite disturbing that no public pronouncement has been made about work resuming on the project any time soon while the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority lament the lack of port space with shippers reeling under the high cost of doing business at the ports, due partly to congestion and delays in the movement of containers.
So in the meantime, could the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) temporarily allow the flow of cargo to Boankra even as government rolls out its railways rehabilitation project?
Or should they ”GPHA”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 Inland Port?
These are suggestions from the Ashanti Regional Shipper Committee at their recent meeting which the Paper gives its strong backing as it will ultimately help reduce the cost of doing business at the ports and improve the portsâ€™ efficiency and productivity.