Parliament approved the government’s new concession agreement with Ashanti Ports Services Limited, a consortium of Afum Quality Limited Ghana and DSS Associates of South Korea on Friday night for an amount up to US$330 million for the development of the Boankra Integrated Logistics Terminal (inland port) in the Ashanti Region.
The government initiated the Ghana Trade and Investment Gateway programme (GHATIG) aimed at rapid socioeconomic growth.
The government said it wanted to transform Ghana into a major manufacturing, processing and multi-model transportation hub in the sub-region.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) acting through its agencies namely the Ghana Shipper’s Authority (GSA) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) initiated in 1990 the Boankra Integrated Logistics Terminal (BILT) in the Ejisu Municipality, near Kumasi, to create an Inland Dry Port as an extension to the Tema Port.
With the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession agreement approved, the project is set to commence and they intend to attract private businesses to the area and develop it as an industrial/commercial estate to serve the Maritime Business Community.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ejisu, Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, said the Boankra Integrated Logistics Terminal (BILT) project was expected to bring import and export services closer to the door-step of shippers in the middle and northern parts of Ghana as well as the neighbouring landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
Contributing to the debate on the Floor of Parliament, he said the project would decongest the seaport of Tema and Takoradi and enhance operational efficiency of both the ports when the Boankra project is completed.
According to him, the project will significantly reduce the aggregate transport cost of international cargo to importers and exporters from the middle and northern parts of the country.
Mr. Owusu-Aduomi, who is also the Deputy Minister for Roads and Highway, said the project had been delayed as a result of the unusable nature of the eastern railway line which was spoilt at many sections.
“If you do not have the rail, then you cannot have the inland port, simply because you cannot transport the cargo by road. How many containers can a bigger truck take? Maybe, maximum two,” he told DAILY GUIDE in explaining why the rail line delayed the project.
He continued that “it will not be economically viable to transport the containers to the inland port by road. Unless by rail. The Boankra inland port’s viability will depend on the eastern railway line when it is rehabilitated and functional.”
Chairman of the Committee on Roads and Transport, Samuel Ayeh-Paye, said the concessionaire would be responsible for the development, estate management, marketing as well as the development of the main roads and utilities for the project.
According to him, the scope of the project is to develop the infrastructure over a land acreage area of over 413 and would feature an Internal Container Depot (ICD) and an Integrated Logistics Hub (ILH) among others.
The GPHA would be responsible for the supervision of the construction and their regulatory role of the BILT during the concessionary period as per the GPHA Act, 1986 (PNDCL 160).
(By Ernest Kofi Adu)