The Takoradi Port is gearing itself up to increase the annual container handling of 50,000 to 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the next 24 months. This follows the successful casting of the first block for the commencement of work on a one million TEU ultra-modern multi-purpose container terminal at the port. The one million TEU ultra-modern multi-purpose container terminal is a joint venture between wholly Ghanaian owned company IBISTEK and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) under a concession agreement. The contractor, Jan DE Nul, has begun the casting of blocks for a 600-meter quay wall with a pavement. This is being done alongside the dredging of the harbour basin to a draft of 16 meters that will allow the port to host Panamax vessels. “Today we have cast the first block to signify the commencement of the construction of the 600-meter quay wall for the terminal,” Project Manager for Jan De Nul Pascal Dumez revealed. “Each block weighs around 50 tons and in all we are going to cast 4250 blocks.” He further said “we are engaging over 250 local hands which include local contractors and suppliers”. When completed, the terminal would also serve as the main transshipment point for cargo to landlocked countries. Director of Takoradi Port Captain Ebenezer Afedze said the project will triple the container traffic at the port. “Takoradi Port has not seen much container traffic all these years. Our average performance has been between 55 thousand to 60 thousand TEUs annually. When this terminal is completed we are hoping to at least get to about 200 thousand TEUs in the first year.” He stated that with a depth of 16 meters, the port will be able to host Panamex vessels. “With this depth we will become very competitive in the sub-region. The other good news is that our revenue will shore up and also the port will be in a good position to employ more.” Chairman of IBISTEK Kwame Gyan assured that the necessary funds for the project have been secured. “The project comprises of phase 1 and 2. Phase 1 is $200 million which funds have been fully secured. As we continue from phase 1 to 2 we are talking of about $475 million. “Phase 1 should be done by 24 months from now. In 24 months, this port should be ready with all the facilities and equipment of a first-class port.” He added that Phase 2 will include the extension of the quay walls from 600 meters to 1,495 meters. The renowned lawyer applauded government for reposing confidence in a local company to construct a port. Netherlands-based company Royal Haskoning DHV is providing technical advice and support including procurement processes and environmental assessment plans for the project. Ibistek is providing 50 percent equity while Nigerian-based AFC is providing the remaining 50 percent as debt financing for the first phase of the project.