Ghana has two (2) commercial ports at Tema, in the east and Takoradi in the west. An inland port is under construction at Boankra, near Kumasi. The port of Tema covers 166 hectares of water area enclosed by 2 breakwaters. There are 2 quays housing 12 multi-purpose berths. Quay 1 houses berth 6-12, while Quay 2 houses berths 1-5. These berths are operated as common-user and a wide range of cargo including dry bulks, steel products, bagged cargo, newspapers, vehicles and containers. There is a terminal for handling crude and other liquid petroleum products. The oil berth can accommodate tanker of up to 244 metres in length with a maximum draught of 9.7metres.
Recent years have seen a rapid increase in cargo through Tema and owing to trans-shipment and transit traffic to land-locked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Indications are that traffic will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.
The Takoradi port, a much smaller one, was commissioned in 1928, but underwent major rehabilitation in the 1990s. It is slated for another massive refurbishment under the Ghana Gateway Project in the near future. Currently, it handles about 60% of Ghana’s total exports, which mainly includes minerals (manganese, bauxite and gold), timber and cocoa.
A new centrally located “inland port” is being constructed at Boankra near Kumasi in the heart of the country. This is expected to be an important staging post for goods in transit to and from the landlocked countries lying north of Ghana. This will be a multi-modal facility handling both road and rail traffic. When the facility enters service, cargo owners to the northern part of Ghana will be able to use Boankra as their trans-shipment instead of Tema and Takoradi.
Due to Ghana’s oil find there is a short term development project to take place at the Takoradi port. The project which is estimated to cost about USD 50 million would involve dredging of the area to 7.0 m, land reclamation, relocation of the cocoa sheds outside the port, construction of about 500m quay walls, 650m oil berth with 10m draft, water hydrant for the supply of fresh water to vessels, office accommodation, oil storage tanks for bunkering, storage facility of oil production materials in a freezone and cargo handling equipment.
Based on cargo forecast up to year 2028 a master plan has been developed for the long term. The estimated cost of project is USD 650 million and it will see facilities like breakwater extension, paved operating areas, conveyers for clinker, bauxite and manganese, railroad, paved roads, container yard and cargo handling equipment being added to the port.
In the eastern part of Tema is one of Ghana’s main fishing harbours. Another one is at Sekondi and other minor ones are located at Elmina, Mumford and other fishing communities along the coast. The Tema Fishing harbour is divided into 3 zones – the inner outer fishing harbour has a protective water area of 15 hectares, a maximum draught of 5.2 metres and an average draught of 4.0 metres at low water level. Facilities include:
- Lay-by jetting: 155 metres long with berthing for over 50 wooden vessels
- Mooring for 20 steel vessels
- Net repairing wharf (100 metres long)
- Two (2) fishing handling sheds
- Fish market hall
The port of Tema is also a leading center of ship repairs on the west coast of Africa. Convening nearly 49 acres, the shipyard is a convenient hub for dry-docking and repairs of all kinds of ships ranging from large sea going vessels to coasters and fishing boats. It has facilities for ship repair, dry-docking, steel fabrication, general engineering, met lock repairs and non-destructive testing.