China Habour and Engineering Company have begun work on the 2,000 acres of land at Atuabo earmarked for the construction of the $700m Atuabo Free Port in the Western Region.
This phase of construction which entails detailed soil testing, is to ascertain the quality of soil on which the port will be built and the type of construction materials to be used.
[contextly_sidebar id=”eIxOgJBExRIKQZAGQB6n4hDs3Uk4ZMCA”]At a soil testing activity at Atuabo, engineers from the China Habour and Engineering Company, the main contractors to develop the port indicated that the construction of the port will commence fully after the soil testing which will last between six and 8 weeks is completed.
Compensation and land acquisition issues
Commercial executive at Atuabo Free Port, Frank Hagan Brown indicated that the company since 2012 has identified all farmers and property owners whose properties will be affected by the project, adding that they are in the final stages of initiating the payment of all compensations.
He said: “We believe we’ve done a good job, we have been in touch with the community at large and we hope not to take any of the property owners for granted.”
The Atuabo Free Port, according to Frank Hagan Brown, will be a one-stop shop facility dedicated for oil and gas activities in Ghana and across the Gulf of Guinea.
He said it will be used to service oil rigs operating offshore Ghana who currently travel to either South Africa or Spain for those services.
It will also support the growing fleet of offshore support vessels and FPSOs operating in West Africa.
The 100 acres will provide safe and sheltered bethering, quayside spanning 700m, a good water depth will allow larger ocean faring vessels to load and offload contents and materials related to the hydrocarbon industry.
It will also have a fabrication yard that will facilitate the construction of large subsea units in West Africa.
The port includes business support area with extended stay accommodation, office space, shopping facilities and banks.
There is also a 1,600m airstrip which will enable flights in and out of Atuabo and a helipad to support safe helicopter landing.
The Atuabo Free Port according to the external affairs officer Philomena Dovi-Kuzoe will exempted from tax. “Everything that comes in or goes out of the port is exempted from tax.”
“But when you leave the port and go to Ghana customs port you will pay tax”. She explained
Differences between the Atuabo Free Port and other ports in Ghana
The Atuabo Free Port will only be dedicated to the oil and gas industry, Mrs Dovi Kuzoe explained to Citi News.
There will not be commercial activities such as dealing in containers, importation of cars, export of timbers or cocoa etc. these activities per the laws of Ghana are reserved for the Takoradi and Tema habours.
The Atuabo free port will be servicing oil rigs instead of, after working on West African waters, travel to either Las Palmas on Spain’s Canary Island or Cape Town habour in South Africa.
She however added that the two already existing ports will continue to contribute their quota as they are doing now to the oil and gas industry.
Completion of the project
Main construction of the port to be done by China Habour Engineering Company is to commence by the end of the fourth quarter of 2015 and the free port is slated to be operational in 2017
By: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo/citifmonline.com/Ghana