Tema Port becomes first port of call in West Africa

13, 676 TEU Vessel, Maersk Edirne, berthed at MPS Terminal 3 at the Port of Tema

A historic milestone in the annals of the Port of Tema has been chalked with the arrival of an over 13,000 container ship earlier this week at the MPS Terminal 3.

The call of the Maersk Edirne marked the commencement of a new express service, making the Port of Tema the first port of call in West Africa.

The 366-metre-long, 13,676 TEU vessel, before reaching the West Coast of Africa, journeyed through major hub ports in China and Southeast Asia in under 20 days.

This vessel is one of thirteen similar-sized vessels deployed on the updated Far East-West Africa service, expected to deliver better connectivity and quicker transit times.

The Maersk Ghana team, together with some of the line’s key customers, celebrated this milestone with a quick tour of the giant ship.

Razak Ngula, the Managing Director of Maersk Ghana Limited, said his outfit is excited to bring this express service to the doorstep of customers at a reduced transit time.

“We want to see this corridor grow each year. Last year, the corridor grew 23 percent into West Africa and we expect that this would inject the needed capacity to be able to carry the cargo that is needed into West Africa,” he indicated.

He said considering that most African ports have structural constraints, this move by Maersk “gives indication of the kind of infrastructure that we have in Tema to be able to receive such big vessels”.

According to Eva Kwarteng, the Import and Export Manager at Nestlé Ghana Limited – a major customer of Maersk, “the vessel coming directly from Far East to us means we’ll have our materials available on time for us to be able to produce on time in order to satisfy our customers. Secondly, because the lead time is short, it means we do not have to keep so much stock at a point in time because we can always get them coming as and when we need them; so it can help us also to reduce the stock holding that we have in terms of our raw and packaging materials”.

Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Port Services, Mohammed Samara, told Eye on Port what this means to traders, industries and ordinary consumers using the Port of Tema.

He said not only will it mean shorter transit time in the logistics supply chain, but also marginal reductions in freight rates would be enjoyed due to the direct service.

The MPS CEO said this feat is made possible by the massive investment made into the port facility at Terminal 3.

“We have deployed eight cranes on board this ship alone. Not many ports in West Africa have eight cranes, let alone be able to deploy eight cranes on one ship. The infrastructure that we have built over here is capable of taking such sized vessels and even bigger. We have the draft and we are connected directly to the Atlantic Ocean.”

Mohammed Samara revealed that this is only the beginning so far as Ghana’s gateway ambitions are concerned.

He said, without mentioning names due to commercial sensitivities, some other shipping lines have already engaged MPS to explore the possibility of deploying similar services through the Port of Tema.

The MPS Boss said the transhipment opportunities look bright for the Port of Tema, which is truly living up to its vision of becoming the leading container hub of the sub-region.

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