On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Sierra Leone News: President Bio commissions $120m berth

President Julius Maada Bio over the weekend commissioned the 7th Freetown container terminal Port Extension Berth seven constructed by Bollore Africa Transport and Logistic. The General Manager of Sierra Leone Ports Authority Dr Alusine Fofanah said the agreement was signed between the NCP and Bollore and came into effect in March 2011. The GM disclosed that Vessel traffic in 2010 was about 230 per year but in 2017 it had increased to about 462, which is about 10%. He added that in 2010 cargo was about 2.8 million metric tons and in 2017 it increased to 9.1 million metric tons. Container increased from 21,000 in 2010 to 51,000 in 2017.  Dr Fofanah furthered that the average shipping turnaround has decreased from 72 hours in 2010 to 68 hours now, assuring all clients at the Port that they will do their best to provide satisfactory services to them as they rely on them to boost the county’s economy.  The chairman of the National Commission on Privatization Umaru Koroma stated that the stage at which the terminal is now is based on collaborative effort between the NCP and the different stakeholders.  He stated that the extension of the berth has been a core area within the NCP as part of the drive is to develop the Port to meet the standard of other African countries and the world in general.  Captain Fabjanko Kokan Country Manager of Bollore said they have not constructed a Berth but a hope for the people of Sierra Leone.  He said they are aware of the importance of development and so they are committed to the development of the Sierra Leone Ports for economic growth.  He commended the president and entire cabinet for their input stating that his presence at the terminal is to ensure that things are working. Kokan disclosed the reclamation process which he said has been 24 months of hard work in the city with 270meters of the quay, 30 meters and 3.5 hectares’ of yard, power plant of 6 megawatts, 1 million tons of sand over 40,000 tons of cement and other materials they have been able to complete the process.  To be able to invest $120 million is very important he said but what is more important is to get people on the ground to do the work.  He added that Bollore has recruited more than 400 workers with 99% of them as Sierra Leonean staff. This is a sign that they are in the country for a very long time.  In his speech, President Julius Maada Bio said there is a very long history of French presence in Sierra Leone from investment to humanitarian, medical, technical, direct economic assistance to providing investment under which category Bollore falls.  He stated that the country is looking for a mutually beneficial relationship “we want to grow and diversify our economy and create well paid jobs for Sierra Leoneans.”  To achieve this, he said his government is on the finishing line of creating an investment board. Sierra Leone he said “is open for business. We want our current partners and investors in the country to tell other investors around the world that Sierra Leone is a good place to invest.”  He acknowledged the expansion of the Berth space through reclamation, saying this will lead to increased volumes and tonnage as well as the sizes of vessels that are handled at the Port. “I acknowledge the installation of higher capacity equipment and the employment and training of local staff to operate the modern equipment. This adds to the nation’s critical assets and the expertise of its labor force.” He questioned whether “Bollore is thinking of providing advanced training for local staff beyond the bare minimum training needed? Despite the fact that the company has been providing some skilled training for the local staff.” He also asked, whether “Bollore has introduced newer machinery?” keeping in mind the status and security of the Sierra Leonean staff and labor relations? Could Bollore consider internship programs for students in tertiary institutions? Will the Port extension and introduction of new equipment make it possible for more vessels and more tonnage? Will Bollore reduce Ports cost for users?”

By Betty Milton

Monday November 26, 2018.

Comments are closed.