Port traffic in the Port of Takoradi was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the year 2020.
The Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Mr. Michael Luguje has revealed that the oil and gas services operations through the port decreased because of cancellation of $390million worth of oil contract in Ghana due to the pandemic. This resulted in 40% decrease in oil supply vessel calls to the port in 2020 compared to 2019 figures recorded.
In 2020, oil supply vessel calls reduced by 443 calls from 980 in 2019 to 537 in 2020. This is very significant especially when since 2009, oil supply vessels calls have contributed more than 50% of the total vessel calls to the Port. Despite this decrease, oil supply vessel calls 537 in 2020 still mentioned its lead with 49% of total vessel calls to the Port of Takoradi.
Mr. Luguje who was speaking on the sidelines of the thanksgiving ceremony of the management and staff of the Port of Takoradi said the Port of Takoradi was hard hit since the port is the main strategic support base for the oil and gas sector.
“For us in the Ghana Port sector, we felt it more in the oil and gas services area in Takoradi port where we had a lot of oil and gas companies cancelling contracts because of the COVID-19 and because of that the oil sector, cargo and revenue dropped by about 30-40%,” he said.
The Director-General of GPHA, Michael Luguje said port business in 2020 was a reflection of what happened around the world where global trade dropped due to Covid-19.
He, however, said cargoes in the Port of Tema didn’t record any significant drop.
He said the Port Authority has taken some precautions to protect itself from any unexpected eventuality.
“COVID has thought all of us a great lesson. It has thought us lessons of prioritizing preventive measures than curative ones.”
On his part, the Director of Port of Takoradi, Captain Ebenezer Afadzi said the export of manganese reduced by 50% but that of general cargo wasn’t so much affected. Manganese exports reduced by 3.2 million mt in 2020 from 5.9million mt in 2019 to 2.7 million mt in 2020. This was because of an impasse with regulators which resulted in the late start of exports in late of May 2020 hence in the first 4(four) months on 2020 (Jan-April), the Port did not record a single ton on manganese export. This impacted the port negatively considering the fact that manganese exports constitute almost 60% of the Port’s commodity portfolio.
“As at now because Manganese had a problem and did not work up to May 2020 and because of the covid, manganese which is our main cargo did only about 50% of what they are supposed to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, certain commodities handled at the Port recorded increases. Bulk clinker through the Port of Takoradi increased 42% from 1.2million metric tons in 2019 to 1.7million metric tons in 2020. Also, Ammonium nitrate for both the domestic and Burkina Faso mining industries increased 37%, Bulk Quick lime by 8% with the export of Bauxite also increasing by 11% in 2020.