The company imports nearly all of the 40,000 items it sells in its web of retail stores located around the country, so the port and connecting roads form a critical part of its supply chain and distribution network. Currently, Melcom attributes a large amount of its total costs to shipping inefficiencies caused by the strain of the current infrastructure.
“Our ambition is to be the place where Ghana shops for all its needs and that means we have to keep the shelves stocked with the products our customers have come to expect, says Mahesh Malwani, Joint Group Managing Director for Melcom. “Improvements in port productivity, truck turnaround times, documentation, clearing and forwarding processes, among many other things, will all help remove time and waste from our supply chain, lowering our inventory and storage costs in the process and enabling us to grow the business.”
Construction of the new Tema port will begin in 2016. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2019, after which it will growing in phases.
According to QBIS Consulting, which conducted a socio-economic impact study of the project on behalf of APM Terminals, the new port at Tema will impact Ghana in two ways, through the labour, goods and services required for its physical construction and subsequent operation, and the improved cargo handling services that will facilitate improved import and export of goods.
“While both will create jobs, employee earnings, business sales and taxes,” says Thomas Westergaard-Kabelmann, CEO of QBIS Consulting. “The second way will have the most significant impact—as it will improve Ghana’s competitiveness, leading to boosted export and imports.”
According to QBIS estimates, the increase in trade will increase the revenues of Ghana’s import and export companies, which will lead to as much as a USD 1.1 billion rise in Gross Value Added to the Ghanaian economy and as many as 450,000 new jobs
“More capacity, modern equipment and deep water access for larger ships will help attract trade and also lower the overall costs of trade and transport. And it will relieve a lot of the congestion major ports in this region have become accustomed to,” says Peder Sondergaard, Africa-Middle East Region Head for APM Terminals. “If seen as a package, the benefit of this infrastructure to the society and economy will be substantial.”