Ghana to link up with the Netherlands for port development talks

Port of Rotterdam GhanaNegotiations between the Ghanaian and Dutch governments on the development and expansion of the West African country’s sea ports are set to take place during the visit of a trade delegation from the Netherlands to Accra

Marine trade experts from the Port of Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, as well as specialists from the Port of Amsterdam, will be expected to offer advice and expertise to Ghanaian officials on the development of port facilities, as Ghana attempts to meet the demands of its growing maritime trade volumes.

Hans Docter, the Dutch ambassador to Ghana, said, "We expect some negotiations to begin soon. We are trying to promote a model of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in ports expansion and development, as we are doing in Netherlands with our largest port expansion project.

"Government does not have to invest its own money in port expansion. PPP is a model for Ghana to follow particularly as its budget is overstretched. We are both the gateways to our backyard region and so it is important to develop our ports to support trade in our respective regions," Docter remarked.

Docter said that the cooperation between the two country was a result of the "already strong trade ties" between the two, with trade volumes between Ghana and the Netherlands in 2012 amounting to US$1.5bn.

The ambassador said that a symposium, organised by the Port Development Partnership African-Netherlands, would take place in Accra during the visit of a group of 30 Dutch companies to Accra. The Dutch businesses will be looking for mutual business opportunities and discussions will be expected to touch on ways of establishing the sustainable and long-term development of African main ports.

During the visit, Docter said advice would be shared on the development of Ghana's ports and logistics sector, due primarily to Dutch expertise of managing and developing ports and related logistics.

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority already has an agreement in place with the China Harbour Engineering Company with the first phase of the US$150mn Takoradi Port Infrastructure Development Project currently in progress.

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