Tema Port exceeds 2020 cargo and container traffic target despite COVID-19 disruptions


Ghana’s largest Commercial Port, the Port of Tema achieved one of its strongest performances in the year 2020 despite disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a comparative analysis data released by the Port of Tema, actual Cargo traffic by trade in 2020 exceeded its targeted volumes by 5.9% from 18,293,893 to 19,372,993 which is 11.16% higher than the 2019 volumes of 17,427,625. Actual Cargo traffic by Commodity increased from a target of 18,186,164 to 18,909,586, representing 3.98% increase which was 9.20% growth from the 2019 volumes of 17,316,276.

The data also showed that Container Traffic by boxes of trade increased beyond a target of 685,735 to an actual figure of 837,919 in 2020, representing 24.17% which was 26.37% higher than the 2019 figure of 674,271.

Container traffic by TEUs of trade increased by 24.65%. From a targeted figure of 1,031,796 to an actual volume of 1,286,161, a 27.18% more than the 1,011,269 figure obtained in the year 2019.

The Director of the Port of Tema, Mrs. Sandra Opoku who spoke to B&FT described the achievement as encouraging considering the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on all sectors of human lives globally in 2020.

Mrs. Opoku revealed that, the sterling performance by the nation’s largest Commercial Port was a reflection of the improved service delivery systems that were adopted by the Port to eliminate impediments in the way of already frustrating importing public who were not only dealing with the direct effects of the coronavirus disease but also adjusting to harsh health protocols including restrictions in the movement of people.

“The performance of the Port is indicative that the COVID-19 did not adversely affect cargo traffic at the Port of Tema. And this is because the port administration put in place efficient measures to ensure that clearance processes, safety of vessels, crew, and cargo during the pandemic were protected.

The 2020 comparative data analysis of the Tema Port also showed that imported cargo by trade in 2020 was 14,671,968 which is 4.34% higher than the target of 14,062,244 and 8.80% higher than the 2019 Import volumes of 13,484,666

Export on the other hand, could be said to have been affected by the pandemic as people could not engage in their usual activities which may have affected production and subsequently the volumes of cargo meant for export. The Port had targeted export volumes at 2,759,167 and this was reduced to 2,458,859, some 10.88% which was even 2.60% short of the 2,524,434 figure that was achieved in 2019.

But the Port of Tema boss was optimistic, that 2021 may be a better year as government roles out effective measures to arrest the impact of the coronavirus pandemic particularly on the production sector of the economy.

The Director of Port of Tema also asserted that the 2020 port performance data demonstrated that the vision of Port of Tema to become the Transhipment Hub for West Africa was progressively on course as Transhipment in boxes of trade catapulted by 271.80% from 3,865 in 2019 to 14,370 in 2020 and also exceeding the 2020 target of 2,934 by 389.76%. Transshipments in TEUs of trade exceeded the 2020 target by 536.36% from 3,498 to 22,260 which is a huge leap of some 406.59% from the 2019 figure of 4,394

Generally, there was also a surge in the volumes of vessels that called the Port of Tema from a targeted figure of 41,008,135 to the actual 56, 258,484 figure representing 37% obtained in 2020 which was also 37% higher than the 2019 figure of 41,098,601.

Mrs.  Opoku said with determination and the introduction of innovations in service deliveries, she is expectant that 2021 volumes will even see an improvement in the Port’s performances and possibly exceeding 20 million cargo volumes by the end of this year, 2021.

“In 2021 we have introduced more innovations in our processes. We have purchased new cargo handling equipment which is arriving before end of this first quarter to augment the existing ones and help speed up delivery and also turnaround times of vessels. We are also strengthening our collaborations with our stakeholders in order to improve coordination, facilitate trade and reduce the cost of doing business to achieve our vision which is to be the leading container hub and the beacon of trade in West Africa”. Mrs. Sandra Opoku explained.

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