... Signs MOU with Georgia Ports Authority to strengthen trade, infrastructure, others; as Liberian ports can be used as a hub for W/Africa
The National Port Authority has disclosed that the ports of Buchanan, Harper, and Greenville are open for substantial infrastructure investment.
The investments, according to NPA Managing Director Bill Twehway, are geared toward not just creating jobs but as well upgrading the ports' transportation infrastructure; and carrying out modernization to meet 21-century port criteria.
Twehway said the investment would make the ports up for grabs as a hub for West Africa, generate cash, accelerate other investments and at the same time economically benefit the host communities.
Currently, Liberia has four ports including the Freeport of Liberia which is controlled by the APM Terminals and is the only port that is up to international standards.
The Port of Buchanan is located 272 kilometers southeast of Monrovia and is the second-largest port. The harbor is protected by two breakwaters 1,890m and 590m long. Inside the basin, a 225 meters long ore loading quay is located adjacent to the commercial loading quay, providing a water depth of 10.5m below the chart datum.
Adjacent to the loading quay another waiting berth for ore carriers is available. On the inner side of the secondary breakwater, is a commercial quay, 334m long with available water depth of 9.5m below chart datum. The access channel to the Port provides ships a water depth 11.5m below chart datum and a channel width between the breakwaters of 210m. However, the port which is current in operation is in investment to improve operational efficiency.
The Port of Harper is located in the southeastern region of Liberia, near the border with the Ivory Coast, about 761.6 kilometers from the Port of Monrovia. The Port was constructed on the Rocky Russwurn Island, by connecting the island to the mainland with a causeway, and by constructing a 150m long breakwater.
Berthing facilities are provided by a 100m long reinforced pier with available water depth of 5.50m on both sides. Its activities are centered on the exportation of logs and sawn timbers from the southeastern hinterland.
While the Port of Greenville is located in the southeastern region of the country, about 673.6 kilometers from the Freeport of Monrovia. The harbor is protected by a 400m long breakwater, and on its inner side, by two quays. There are two berthing facilities, 70m and 180m respectively, with an existing depth of 6m below chart datum.
The Port functioned principally as an outlet for the timber and mining industries.
The NPA manager director’s plea for investment comes as he signed a historic MOU with the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) in Houston States, USA -- which among many things focus on training, marketing, information sharing, and infrastructure improvement.
“We hope that you will help us to improve like the Ports of Georgia. If we can even achieve 50 to 40 percent of your achievements, we will be very grateful. Our ports can be used as hub for West Africa only and only investors come and create the necessary avenue that will make sure these things happen. We have the land, oceans and four ports so come and help us,” Twehway said.
Accordingly, he added the NPA has secured 175 acres of land to create an inland port and calls on interested investors to take advantage to create an inland port that will serve the people of Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, and Liberia.
“We are signing a historic memorandum of understanding that is not banning or legally banning or obligate government or be sued, no. This MOU is intended to strengthen the relation between National Port Authority of Liberia and Georgia Port Authority,” the NPA boss said.
John Petrino, Director of Business Development and International Marketing at Georgia Ports, who also signed the MOU virtually, said the management of the ports has enjoyed a strong working relationship with the Government through the NPA over the last 12 years.
“Today, we will be renewing the relationship between the GPA and NPA of Liberia. In Georgia, we have produced and made the ports of Georgia a global hub for business. This MOU continues the collaboration established in 2010 and will create additional opportunities for trade for Africa, especially Liberia,” Director Petrino noted.
For his part, Aaron Whitely, Commissioner, Chatham County, Georgia, USA, said he was highly delighted to found part of the landmark signing ceremony and hope to see the fruits coming to realization.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Blandford, the Honorary Consul General of Liberia in Georgia, USA, lauded Twehway for his leadership role at the port and expressed great excitement in the MOU.
“We’re here today down with other distinguished members of this delegation to sign this agreement and also strengthen the trade relationship between Georgia and Liberia,” she said.
Madam Blandford said both parties have the opportunity to review the manifesto lists that talk about what is to be exported and imported.
“We know for sure that Georgia did a great job on exporting textile, logs and of course chicken. Georgia is known for their chicken and we are proud to be one of the great exporters of chicken and to any states in the United States in America to Liberia. We loved our chicken here in Liberia but we know we can do so much and for that reason we’re here today to see how we can strengthen trade between the two countries,” she stressed.
Accordingly, many of their containers are coming back to either Liberia to the United States, particularly to Georgia we want to do better, we want to strengthen trade, “we want to work with some of our small and medium-sized businesses, a Liberian Business Association, Liberia Chambers and other to make sure we meet all the necessary requirement to increase trade and to get those containers to fill from here to Georgia.”