Transport Minister, Kweku Ofori Asiamah, has announced that the contractor selected for the construction of the Boankra Inland Port in the Ashanti region, will be made known on Friday, February 14, 2020, when the government meets the transactional advisers for the project, PwC.
Mr. Asiamah, speaking at a town hall meeting by the government in Kumasi on Tuesday, said when the Akufo-Addo administration assumed office, it noted some challenges with existing arrangements done on the nearly two-decade-old project.
Some of the challenges relate to encroachment on the land, although the traditional custodians of the land, Ejisu Traditional Area, still insists that the 400-acre land space reserved for the project remains available.
Although the Transport Minister did not state when the contractor will move to the site nor provide other timelines, he said government is keen on connecting the inland port to the railway network from Takoradi via Prestea Huni Valley.
According to him, without a functional railway network, the essence of the inland port would be lost.
The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), in partnership with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), initiated the inland port project to link the ports of Tema and Takoradi to the inner parts of the country and the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
In January 1996, then-President, Jerry John Rawlings, cut the sod for the construction of the inland port at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region, but due to litigation over the land, the project was moved to Boankra, with works formally beginning in 2001.
It was expected to be a free port that would combine unimodal and inter-modal operations aimed at easing congestion at Ghana’s seaports, and thereby facilitate the transit trade of Ghana’s landlocked neighbours.
The expected benefits of the inland port include a reduction in the generalized transport cost of international cargo to importers and exporters from the middle and northern parts of Ghana, including the Sahel sub-region; increased exportation of produce such as cola nuts, shea butter, cocoa and cocoa products, wood and wood products; and the promotion of the establishment of export processing zones in the vicinity of the inland port.
It is also to assist in the provision of up-to-date infrastructure to meet current developments and technological changes in the shipping industry.