The government of Ghana has agreed to big increases in tariffs at the port of Tema to allow operator Meridian Port Services (MPS) to recoup the cost of building the new container facility, Terminal 3
Container handling charges are to increase by an average of 10.9%. MPS had held a 70% stake in the new terminal, which was completed in June, with port landlord Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) holding the remaining 30%, but the balance changed to 85%:15% when the terminal opened for business. The port is now the biggest container facility in West Africa, with annual handling capacity of 3.5M TEU.
MPS, which is owned by Bolloré and APM Terminals, had requested earlier this year that tariffs be increased when the new container terminal was completed but this opposed by port users, including the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders.
The dominant role of MPS at the port has been opposed by the Maritime and Dockworkers’ Union (MDU), which is particularly concerned that the completion of the new reefer facility at Terminal 3 could result in job losses at the GPHA’s existing reefer yard, which has storage capacity for 800 TEU.
Trades unions active at the port wanted GPHA to retain control of 20% of all containers passing through the port, although it is not clear whether this would mean two separate operations at Terminal 3.
Reports in Ghana suggest that the higher port tariffs have indeed been agreed in exchange for GPHA taking a 20% slice of container turnover at the port to compensate for its lost income from MPS’s other activities.
MPS hopes that trades union opposition to its concession will now end. The vice president of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Johnny Mantey, said that port tariffs will now have increased by a total of 20% since 2015.