- Situation causing US$200m revenue loss annually
- Lome anchorage is more patronized
- Nigeria controls 70% market share in sub-region
To position Tema as the hub for cargo redistribution in the sub-region, Ghana needs to strongly consider its anchorage charges for ship-to-ship transfer operations to become competitive, a shipping expert, Mr. Gilbert Owusu Gyamfi, has said.
The exorbitant fees paid by vessel owners for ship-to-ship (STS) transfer operations on daily basis, Mr. Gyamfi explained, has pushed vessels to boycott Tema.
Currently, Lome charges US$1,802 with an extra US$236 as security charge for a vessel which weighs 45,000grt on STS operations for every 14 days.
That sharply contrasts with the situation in Ghana where charges are imposed daily, with same vessel tonnage of 45,000grt costing about US$675 each day.
Ghana’s cost is based on tonnage of the vessel, times an anchorage rate of 0.015 per day.
STS transfer operation is the transfer of cargo between seagoing ships positioned alongside each other, either while stationary or underway. Cargoes typically transferred via STS methods include crude oil, liquefied gas (LPG or LNG), bulk cargo, and petroleum products.
“If we reduce our cost at Tema, they are going to come right here to do business instead of us losing more than US$200 million each year at the port” Mr. Gyamfi told the Goldstreet Business on the sidelines of the Ghana International Petroleum Conference (GhIPCON) in Accra.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Positioning Tema as a cargo redistribution hub in West Africa’, Gyamfi, explained that the number of vessels which can be seen patronizing the Lome anchorage, by means of an AIS system tracker, far exceeds that of Tema because of the high cost involved here.
“Somebody is deliberately making efforts to take the business and that isn’t good for the country. Vessels that are coming for STS transfer must have their costs reduced, not necessarily for every vessel though, because some come for other purposes,” he recommended.
The cost situation has prompted huge vessels from Lome to do quick turnaround redistribution and go back to Lome, with few coming to Tema, Abidjan and Liberia.
Lagos, due to its high vessel intake, controls 70 percent of the cargo redistribution market in the sub-region.
That country has been extra motivated from its new refineries currently being built by billionaire Aliko Dangote.
There is therefore the urgency for Ghana to devise strategies to enable it to become competitive in the region.
The GhIPCON is organized under the auspices of the Energy Ministry, National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors and the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs) to interrogate and shed light on market and policy shifts required to realize government’s vision of turning Ghana into a petroleum hub in West Africa.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe