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Sierra Leone News: Ports Management Association converge in Salone

A five-day meeting of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) technical committee started on Monday with an opening ceremony at the Bintumani conference hall.
The technical committee includes maritime safety, marine environment protection and operations, technical studies and infrastructure development and liaison officers.
Secretary General of PMAWCA, Michael Lugeje, disclosed that the association was set up in November 1972 in Sierra Leone. “So whenever they have the opportunity to come to Sierra Leone they see it as home coming.”
He said the objective of the management team is to facilitate trade and economic development and that ports are not competitors as “we are all working in the interest of the regional economy starting with their respective national economy. We see ourselves as neighbours working for a common goal.”
The Secretary General said over the years they looked at how best they can assist the Ports and it members to build necessary technical and human capacity with the aim to provide the best services of the ships”.
He said the meeting of the three committees will look at what the issues of the new port are as the one by the maritime safety, marine environment protection and operations, will look at issues surrounding environmental protection and the social responsibility component of it.
The committee on infrastructure and development will look at Port infrastructure and the surviving role of the Port Authority, whereas the Laison officers will look at what they can do as individual ambassadors at the level of each to assess the situation to make sure it grows better than it is now.
The General Manager of Sierra Leone Port Authority, Abu Brima, said the association has sojourned for 45 years through West and Central Africa until it has returned home.
Adding that the objective of PMAWCA is to ensure that Port in West and Central Africa collaborate to ensure that there is exchanges of ideas and this should culminate to ensure that we adopt best practices in other ports around the world.
He confirmed that because of the collaboration among the different Port, during the Ebola crisis PMAWCA donated Euro 9,000 as their support. He added, as the economy of Sierra Leone is smaller as compared to other countries, they determine to do more to exploit opportunities they have.
The Sierra Leone Port is uniquely placed, “as it is has a deep natural harbour among the top three in the world. Secondly, we are equi-distance in terms of location between the Port San Pedro and Europe. So through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, the government decided that they should exploit that opportunity”.
The GM said, they looked at the opportunity and determined that the way forward is to transform the Port of Freetown into transhipment hub, because we believe that with allocation and deep water, it will be the best way forward.
So that started with a master plan and a due diligence to understand the baseline in order to plan to move forward. “We reach up to PWAWAC and they provided to set of professionals from the Port of Nigeria and Ghana they came in did a Due Diligence pro bono to ensure that we get necessary decision and data that we need to move forward”.
The Minister of Transport and Aviation, Lenoard Balogu Korma, in his keynote address appreciated the fact that the meeting was held in Sierra Leone and that the country can boast of being a landlord port now.
He highlighted some of the achievement that the ports have made over the years which includes extension of the Port of Freetown, installation of moveable cranes, extension of a parking lot and the refurbishment of structures. BM/23/10/17
By Betty Milton
Tuesday October 24, 2017.

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