PORTS MARINE LTD. IS A SUBSIDIARY OF THE PORTSIDE GROUP. SHIP AGENCY SERVICES OFFERED BY PORTS MARINE LTD. AND THEIR STRATEGIC PARTNERS ENSURE OUR CLIENTS RECEIVE WORLD-CLASS MULTI-MODAL LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS.
The freight forwarding market is very competitive in Ghana, however as every other country there are some operating here to only achieve personal gain, and there is still the perception that Ghana is not a safe place. However, my experience is that you can walk freely over the streets of Accra. Last but not least everyone smiles here, even though there is still a lot of poverty. So it is safe to send your cargoes to Ghana, the country is ranked among the top growers of Africa for 2018 with a predicted growth of 9%.
Obviously, there are challenges in the port, the average time to clear customs is 5 working days, and the process is not all automated as we know it in Ghana. The government is working on a project to enable paperless clearing. The port of Tema and Takoradi are operated by GPHA, a state-owned company. The container terminal is operated by a consortium of Bollore, APMT, and GPHA.
They have built a new port which has been operational since 2020.
Roads around Tema and Accra are okay, however, it is very busy on the road so trucks can get stuck into traffic jams easily. The more you go inland the road network is not as good. However, the main road to Burkina Faso is excellent and can be used for transit cargo.
Our main challenges remain the authorities, there is a lot of red tape and documents can delay shipments. We always have to be on top of this to avoid delays. Also, we have to double check quality of trucks, as some are not in a good state or are not insured, so due diligence is of key importance.
Last but also the most important thing is to keep our customers updated of movements of cargo in the port. This usually takes away the scare of Ghana when you know what is going on.
We are line agents for the ro/ro carrier called NMT shipping, they operate a line from Antwerp to Tema, and we, therefore, handle lots of cars, trucks and heavy machinery for the mining sector. Also, we are agents for Breadbox Shipping lines in Tema, they operate liner services on the West African coast. Breadbox also operates a joint service with Intermarine and we handle these vessels from time to time. Especially on the Intermarine vessels, we have seen some very heavy cargoes. The port does not have any heavy lift cranes, so we recommend that vessels calling Ghana are geared.
We have also chartered vessels, to move explosives from Ghana to Liberia for a goldmine. That was a very hectic project, as we were always on the clock to get the products on time to avoid a shutdown of the mine.
It was actually you that inspired me when you were still with Martin Bencher to become more active in the freight forwarding market. So thanks for that.
We have also recently built a washing station for ISO tanks, together with Van den Bosch (the first in West Africa). We have therefore shipped out commodities like shea butter, cocoa butter, and palm oil. Which brings me to the export market in Ghana. Ghana exports Cocoa, minerals (Bauxite, Manganese ore), Gold and oil. Also commodities like sheanuts, cashews, sesame, palm oil and fruit.