The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meridian Port Services (MPS), Mr. Mohamed Samara, has indicated that the ongoing expansion of ports in the West African sub-region is likely to lead to a reduction in the freight rates paid by shippers.
He made this known at a Breakfast Meeting dubbed ‘Time with MPS’ organized by the Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee (GARSC) on Thursday, 2nd November 2023.
Mr. Samara used the opportunity to highlight the significant investments made in port infrastructure across the West African sub-region. He cited countries with ambitious plans like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Senegal, and Nigeria.
He said that these investments would attract larger vessels, which, in turn, would exert downward pressure on freight rates. He explained, “West Africa has seen substantial investments. We initiated this trend in Ghana with our grand vision to build a larger port. Abidjan quickly followed, and Lekki in Nigeria, along with Dakar looking at upgrading their port facilities. These ports will compete, not only for transshipment but also for accommodating mega-ships with capacities of up to 18,000 TEU. When multiple ports can handle such large vessels, it inevitably leads to a reduction in freight rates.”
Mr. Samara also mentioned that, since the establishment of the MPS Terminal 3, congestion surcharges have been eliminated. He explained, “We introduced a concept called the ‘berthing window,’ which designates specific time slots for each shipping line to dock. This synchronization has reduced waiting times, leading to the elimination of congestion surcharges. Previously, in Tema, the congestion surcharge was 500 euros for half a million TEUs, which was a significant cost for shippers. Removing such surcharges enhances trade facilitation and contributes to economic stability in the West African region.”
These developments are expected to boost trade and bring about greater economic stability among West African nations.
The GARSC Breakfast Meeting aimed to highlight the innovations, opportunities, and challenges within the operations of MPS and address the concerns of users of the Terminal. The event was attended by importers, exporters, as well as representatives of key Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
The Chief Executive Officer of GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismarck commended the GARSC, particularly the Education and Research Sub-committee, for collaborating with GSA to organize the meeting. She expressed confidence that the dialogue would significantly contribute to improving service in the shipping sector.