The Loguatuo Port of Entry in Nimba County, near the Liberian/Ivorian border, has again become a thriving business environment, following a prolonged closure due to the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that occurred in 2014.
Although customs authorities assigned at the border are yet to state how much revenue is being collected on a daily or monthly basis, the atmosphere at the port indicates that businesses are running smoothly as compared to the Ebola era.
Ever since normal trade and commerce resumed in the area, the port has remained very busy as confirmed by traders and security personnel.
“This borderline is smoothly running, but the only problem is the road condition,” said one of the customs officers.
“One can only imagine what will happen when the rainy season starts. Surely this road will get totally deplorable, hampering the movement of goods and services,” another customs agent explained.
The Loguatuo Port of Entry is one of the busiest rural ports in Liberia, located in the northeastern part of Nimba, near the town of Karnplay.
It was former President Charles Ghankay Taylor’s main supply route during the 1990s. However, the main bridge was allegedly bombed by ECOMOG, in order to stop the export of timber and the import of arms and ammunition.
Currently, the damaged bridge is lying in ruins. In 2010, UNMIL constructed an iron bridge adjacent the damaged bridge, which is still being used to transport heavy cargo in trucks or trailers.
It is the key entry point of agricultural goods, such as fresh tomatoes, groundnut, beans and pepper, as well as cattle or livestock.
Most plastic products, including slippers and rubber dishes, are also imported through that port. However the road condition remains one of the cardinal problems commuters/traders face on a daily basis.
The Ivorian side of the border is also said to be very deplorable, with too many checkpoints as compared to the Liberian side, traders have said.
Recently, the Daily Observer gathered that the port is being used by many Ghanaians who enter Liberia, something which immigration officers at the border could not deny. They however said that all those entering the country come with their relevant traveling documents and undergo inspection.
“We have no mandate from the government ordering us to deny any West African national from entering the country, especially when they have all their traveling documents and yellow fever vaccination card,” said an officer (name withheld) of Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).
“We reject those who are sick and do not have any traveling document, as well as prostitutes,” the officer said.
There are surveys underway for the construction of Sehkinpa-to-Loguatuo Border road by a group of engineers believed to have come from Ministry of Public Works. A number of houses and properties along the road have been marked for possible removal.
But the actual time of construction is yet to be established. Many fear that if the road is not rehabilitated before the rainy season, activities at the border will become paralyzed.