The Minister for Transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah has said, over the past couple of years, the transport sector has embarked on extensive programs to improve infrastructure and services through major upgrades, expansions, and modernization. The focus he added, has been to provide the necessary supportive infrastructure and services across the sector.
This he said, was envisioned in the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, the National Medium Term Development Framework, and the National Transport Policy.
He noted, the three main subsectors of the Ministry, which were, the Maritime and Inland Waterways Subsector, Aviation Subsector, and Road Transport Services Subsector had all seen massive developments over the period.
The Minister for Transport made this known when he took his turn to share developments within the Transport Sector at this year’s Ministers Press Briefing at the Ministry of Information.
Touching on developments of the various subsectors, the Minister said the Maritime and Inland Waterways Subsector, had seen the development of 12 fish landing sites at Axim and Dixcove in the Western Region, Moree, Mumford, Ekumfi, Mfansteman, Winneba, Senya Beraku, and Gomoa Feteh in the Central Region, Teshie and Osu in the Greater Accra Region and Keta in the Volta Region which were all nearing completion. These projects, he added, have complementary and community-led Infrastructure projects such as a fish smoking pavilion, health posts, classroom blocks, toilet facilities, and drainage interventions among others.
Hon Ofori Asiamah stated that the challenges that confronted the artisanal fishing industry prior to these developments included poor fish landing facilities, inadequate storage facilities, high post-harvest losses, unhygienic conditions and poor handling of fish. But these developments he added, will address the challenges and support the growth of the fishing industry, create job opportunities and help build vibrant communities along the coast.
As part of the strategic development of the Takoradi Port, Hon Ofori Asaimah mentioned, construction works had been completed on a Multipurpose Container Terminal, that will receive deep drafted vessels which otherwise could not have been possible due to draft limitations. Additionally, the construction of an Oil and Gas Services Terminal to accommodate oil and gas service providers, fabrication companies, exploration companies and suppliers was being pursued.
He said, construction works on a 16-meters draft Dry Bulk Terminal equipped with state-of-the-art high performing ship loaders and 1 eco-hopper, designed with a loading speed of 2,500 tons per hour had also been completed and commissioned at the Takoradi Port. “This new Terminal was a vast improvement compared to what existed previously which had a loading speed of less than 400 tons per hour. The equipment that had been installed can deliver 20 million tons per annum but can handle at least 30 million tons per annum when required”, he added.
These developments the Minister said, meant that the Port can take advantage of larger volumes and ultimately generate more revenue for development.
The minister added that, Government’s agenda of building a third commercial seaport at Keta in the Volta Region was progressing steadily. Following the completion of the feasibility study and Market Sounding Event adverts for investor expression of interest had been published and 20 firms (local and international) had responded Six (6) of the firms been shortlisted and will be invited to the next stage of Request for Proposals (RFP).
On the Boankra Integrated Logistics Terminal, the Minister revealed, works on phase I had reached about 30% and the completion of the project will help decongest the port and bring import and export services closer to the doorsteps of shippers in the Middle and Northern parts of the country as well as our neighboring landlocked countries.
In the Aviation Subsector, he noted, the upgrade of the Kumasi Airport to international status was nearing completion, with the new passenger terminal and ancillary facilities capable of handling about one million passengers annually being completed. As part of the upgrade, the existing runway was extended from 1,981m to 2,300m to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft.
The Tamale Airport expansion works which included the construction of a new terminal building, a multi-purpose terminal and access road connecting the airport to Tamale- Bolgatanga highway have been completed.
“The terminal is currently undergoing Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) to technically assess the readiness of the facility for flight operations”, he stated.
Furthermore, the Sunyani Airport rehabilitation works have been completed and operational, with phase II which will see the existing runway extended to a length of 1,900 meters and the remodeling of the terminal soon to commence.
In the Road Transport Service Subsector, he stated that, in the area of road safety, provisional figures put the total number of reported crashes, injuries, and fatalities as of December 2022 at 14,960, 15,690, and 2,373 respectively. This he said, represented a reduction of 7.55%, 1.54%, and 20.1% respectively over what was recorded in 2021.
“For January and February this year, provisional figures compared to the same period last year shows 15.35%, 8.27%, and 31.56% reduction in crashes, injuries, and fatalities respectively. These reductions were as a result of the ongoing interventions aimed at halving the road fatalities by the year 2030”, he reiterated.
He added, “Although the statistics were not the best, it showed that something positive was being done but we keep reminding ourselves that we need to do more to improve the road safety situation. A life lost has a direct impact on many families”.
Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah further noted that in fulfillment of Government Policy to support public and private transport operators to renew their fleet, contracts were signed for a total of 100 VDL Intercity buses for which the first batch of forty-five (45) buses had been delivered and in operation by Metro Mass Transport Limited, (MMTL).
“The remaining fifty-five (55) buses are expected to be delivered by June 2023. Arrangements are also underway to bring in additional buses to augment the existing fleet of both public and private sector transport operators”, he said.
The Minister was grateful to all players within the sector for the successes chalked and called for stronger cooperation to collectively improve the transport system, and make it safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable for all and sundry.