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The Embassy visits Maersk Group and Tema Port

19.10.2015  15:16


Maritime trade and maritime infrastructure are essential for Ghana’s continued development into a middle-income economy. As a key Danish strength the maritime sector will be a focus of the embassy. On September 29, the Embassy visited Maersk Group and MPS Terminal in Tema, Ghana for a tangible view of how Ghana and the maritime trade meet.

It takes four years to train a good container crane operator. Looking from the ground at the massive container cranes moving containers from vessels to shore it is difficult to understand why.

In the midday tropical heat, the cranes’ moves seem almost automatic. Smooth, soothing, monotone and even paced. Move the spreader over the vessel. Lower it down. Grab a container. Move to shore. Release it to a truck. Repeat. Easy.

Only when you sit next to the operator, almost 50 meters in the air do you realise the virtuosity of the operation. How the smooth seeming movement of the crane is rather a very manual, physical, jostling action. How tiny the container you are trying to grab on the vessel below seems. How the truck you are to load it on disappears from view while the container is still hanging in the air. Only then do you realize the steady eyes, cool hands and astounding levels of concentration that this job requires.

Sitting next to the operator during the operations at the end of the Embassy’s visit to the Maersk Group and MPS Terminal in Tema, Ambassador Tove Degnbol got a very tangible experience of how Ghana and world trade meet.

The port in Tema is Ghana’s main hub for international trade. The main terminal operator, MPS, is a joint venture including both Ghana’s Port and Harbour Authorities and APM Terminals, a part of the Maersk Group, and it was exciting to see, how both Danish and Ghanaian interests were working effectively together to further trade with Ghana.

MPS has recently pledged one of the largest infrastructure investments in Ghana ever and will over the coming years spend more than 1,5 billion USD to expand the port into a region leading standard and to construct an inland motorway.

Ghana has also recently begun oil exploration off its southwestern coast where Maersk Drilling has contracted the state of the art drilling vessel “Maersk Voyager” to perform drilling operations under very difficult conditions.

The Embassy also met with the companies Maersk Line and Damco, and learned more about the container and logistics trade in Ghana. While operations at port were smooth, movements over land into the country or within the region is quite another story.

Owing to among others poor road and rail infrastructure combined with a cumbersome network of checkpoints – for instance, per some reports, a truck has to pass through over 50 to go from the port in Tema to northern Ghana, there is some room for improvement.

 “We believe that one of the fundamentals of ensuring Ghana’s entrenchment as a middle income country is to ensure efficient maritime trade and maritime infrastructure”, says Maritime Counsellor Nicolas Roy-Bonde from the Danish Embassy. “The maritime sector is a key Danish strength and will be a focus for us as we transition from an aid-based to a trade-based embassy, where we will work to further local maritime capabilities and Denmark’s maritime interests”.


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