Expanding capacity at Ghana’s ports will remove the pressing problem of bottlenecks, while providing the country with the opportunity to tap investors for attractive infrastructure projects, said the Group CEO of A. P. Moller – Maersk, Nils Smedegaard Andersen.
Andersen told the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) that a lack of space meant vessels were sometimes forced to wait for days out at sea, which was “risky and costly”.
“We are proposing to the government a port expansion that would double or even triple capacity from the current level of 800,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year,” he said. “This is urgent, and we need to take immediate action,” he added.
Andersen said the huge commitment that infrastructure projects required in terms of time and investment meant companies would be looking for clear rules at the outset.
“With port investments, you do not make any money for the first 10 years, so it becomes imperative to consider the length of tenure, and also ensure that the agreement you have with the government will stick through thick and thin. Otherwise, it is not an attractive environment for investors,” he said.
The Group CEO of A. P. Moller – Maersk was upbeat on Ghana’s prospects for sustainable growth, pointing to the country’s wealth of minerals and natural resources.
He acknowledged, however, that trade between African nations was unlikely to expand significantly while their economies remained so similar in structure.
“Increasing trade between African countries will also require more specialisation,” he said.
“This is something to keep in mind, that until you reach higher-level manufacturing and more systematic agriculture, there will be limited trade.”
The Report: Ghana 2013 will be a guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The publication will be available in print or online.