APM Terminals, the container terminal operating unit of Maersk Group, and its partners have sealed a massive $1.5 billion investment in Ghana in what is viewed as a strong show of support for the West African nation and to Africa’s growth and development as a whole.The investment will be made by APM Terminals through Meridian Port Services, a joint venture between APM Terminals, Bolloré Africa Logistics, and the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority. Plans for the investment were first made in November 2014.
The funds will be used to upgrade APM Terminals’ existing terminal in Tema Port and add 3.5 million TEUs in annual throughput capacity.
The new project consists of both a new greenfield port outside APM Terminals’ present facility and a needed upgrade of the adjacent road network, APM Terminals says. Construction will include the building of four deep-water berths, a new breakwater and an access channel able to accommodate the world’s largest container ships. The project is also expected to create more than 5000 jobs.
“We are excited about how this port will contribute to Ghana’s future economy and emphasize APM Terminals’ strong commitment to Africa’s growth and development. Increased access to global markets is a key component of Africa’s ongoing economic growth, and the new, world-class port development which begins here today will help to put Ghana, and all of West Africa at the forefront of African global trade,” stated APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer during a formal signing ceremony held Friday by His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, the President of the Republic of Ghana.
In a separate project, APM Terminals and Bolloré Africa Logistics will upgrade the current highway between Accra and Tema to a six-lane modern highway along with improved connecting roads and access point to enhance the movement of cargoes into and out of the port of Tema and the hinterland.
In November 2014, an initial Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Meridian Port Services (MPS) and the GPHA for the expansion plans. During the past five months, MPS and the Ghanaian government representatives completed contractual details, and finalized preparations for the project’s required design and engineering studies. The joint venture share is comprised of APM Terminals 35%; Bolloré 35%; and Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority 30%.
“This massive investment highlights the confidence of investors into the country. It is a sign that Ghana is moving in the right direction and the journey will not end there. Expanding the port using superior infrastructure and modern, advanced technology will allow Ghanaian companies to compete for business in the most cost effective way,” said Kim Fejfer.
The International Monetary Fund has projected an annual economic growth rate of 4.5% for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, and 5.1% in 2016, following a 5% GDP expansion in 2014. The IMF has projected Ghana’s economy to expand by 3.5% in 2015 and by 6.4% in 2016. Container ship industry analysts have estimated overall African containerized cargo handling to have increased by 7.2% in 2014, as compared with an overall global growth rate of 5.4%. African port container volumes are forecast to continue to increase well above the global market.
Container throughput at MPS was 651,000 TEUs in 2014, and the existing container facility – operated by APM Terminals in partnership with Bollore since 2004 – is close to maximum utilization.