The redevelopment of the Accra-Tema motorway seems to be in limbo as key players and institutions involved are giving conflicting details as to how and when the project will be delivered, two years after a public announcement by President Mahama.
Completed in 1965, the motorway was designed to be the main access route to the port city of Tema and was the first of many envisioned for Ghana.
Currently, it is estimated that about 70,000 vehicles use the motorway daily. Officials of the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GPHA), the Ministries of Transport, Finance and Highways, and other key partners have given conflicting details over the past two years.
President Mahama announces the redevelopment of the Tema Motorway On Monday, October 28, 2013, President John Mahama announced that the government would expand the Accra Tema motorway into six lanes with an interchange at the Tema roundabout to ease traffic.
The president made the announcement when he cut the sod for the construction of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange Project.
The President explained then that the project would cost US$100 million and would be funded with a credit facility from the Brazilian government and the government of Ghana and would take two years to be completed.
The project was initially envisioned to have an interchange at the Tema roundabout, an ambulance center, a fire station and a police station to ensure security and safety of users of the facility.
However, two years on, the Accra Tema motorway still remains as it is, ridden with potholes with daily traffic at the key intersections, the Tema roundabout and the Tetteh Quarshie interchange.
The Tema Motorway and the US$1.5 billion Tema Port Expansion Project In 2004, the government of Ghana signed a contract with Meridian Port Services Limited (MPS) to run the Tema Port in a 20-year concession agreement.
MPS is a joint venture between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and Meridian Port Holdings Limited, which is in turn a joint venture with Bolloré Group and APM Terminals – a subsidiary of Maersk – as the two main shareholders.
The joint venture share is comprised of Bolloré 35%; APM Terminals 35%; and Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority 30%.
As part of the concession agreement, MPS was to invest in the Tema Port, expand facilities and make it a productive national asset.
In November 2014 an initial Memorandum of Understanding was signed by MPS and the GPHA for the expansion plans. The MoU was signed after about five months of work between MPS and the Ghanaian government representatives to complete contractual details, and finalize preparations for the project’s required design and engineering studies, according to a statement by the Bolloré group.
The expansion was intended to make the Tema Port the most preferred in West Africa and to some extent Africa. It was to expand the capacity of the port by developing four deep-water berths, a new breakwater and an access channel able to accommodate the world’s largest container ships, providing a world-class port infrastructure to support the country’s economic growth.
This was to add 3.5 million TEUs in annual throughput capacity and create 5000 additional jobs. The container throughput capacity in 2014 was about 732382 TEUs, according the GPHA’s reports.
On Saturday November 15 2014, a delegation of the participating entities was at the residence of President John Dramani Mahama in Accra to brief him on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed between the GPHA and the partners on Friday November 14 2015 for the project to commence early 2015 at a projected cost of $US1.5 billion.
The delegation included Mr Mohammed Samara, the Chief Executive Officer of MPS; Alhaji Asoma Banda, the Chairman of the Board of MPS, and Dr Richard Anamoo, the Director General of GPHA.
Present at the meeting were Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister of Roads and Highways, and Mrs Joyce Bawah Mogtari, Deputy Minister of Transport.
Among other things discussed included the benefits the country would derive from the project and the expansion of the Accra Tema motorway to bring the needed relief to transporter and motorists in the area.
In June 2015, the GPHA and MPS signed the actual contract for the Tema Port expansion project. The contract saw the coming into effect a new 35-year concession agreement between the government of Ghana and the joint venture partners.
Present at the event were Samuel Ofosu Ampofo (chairman of the board of GPHA), Dzifa Attivor (then transport minister), Mr Richard Anamoo (DG of GPHA), Mr Mohammed Samara (CEO of MPS), Mr Kim Fejfer (CEO of APM Terminals) and Mr Philipps Labonne (CEO of Bollore Africa Logistics).