Last week, Terminal 3 at the Port of Tema, Ghana, became the first port of call in Africa to welcome the new Maersk FEW3 service linking all major West African ports with all key Asian ports. This service will offer Ghanaian trade and industry a clear advantage: the shortest transit time compared with any other port in the region.
The maiden voyage was made by the Maersk Edirne, which has a carrying capacity of 13,092 TEU, an overall length (LOA) of 366 meters and a beam of 48 meters.
After calling at the Chinese ports of Chiwan and Nansha and loading freight in Singapore, the Maersk Edirne left the Malaysian port of Tanjung Pelepas on December 26, 2023 and arrived at Terminal 3 of the Port of Tema after just 20 days, on January 16, 2024.
Terminal 3 is operated by MPS, a joint venture between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and Meridian Port Holdings Limited (30%), itself a joint venture with Africa Global Logistics (35%) and APM Terminals (35%). The Port of Tema is widely recognized by all shipping lines as the most efficient container terminal in West and Central Africa.
Shorter transit times between the Far East and Africa
According to Razak Ngula, Maersk's Managing Director for Ghana, this strategic decision reflects the growing commercial market for Africa. "West Africa is experiencing significant market growth, and the deployment of this vessel underlines the fact that we have growing customer needs that demand satisfaction.
The improved service guarantees reliable, shorter transit times between the Far East and Africa, making Tema the gateway to West Africa," said Mr. Ngula.
Unloading and loading operations for the 7,128 TEUs to and from the Maersk Edirne were carried out in 5,109 movements, including the handling of hatch covers.
Of these, 1,270 TEU of transshipment containers were reloaded onto feeder vessels for their final destination in other regional ports. Vessel productivity reached an all-time high of 169.92 BMPH (berths moved per hour), setting a new record.
Muhammad Rashid, head of planning, attributed this success to effective coordination with the global line tie-down team, which optimized the crane's intensity.
He emphasized strategic planning, which enabled balanced crane distribution and flexibility in the deployment of ship-to-shore gantry cranes during the call. Mr. Rashid emphasized the elimination of waiting time at anchor, with operations starting only 37 minutes after fasting.
Increased supply chain reliability
Eva Kwarteng, Import and Export Manager at Nestlé Ghana, highlighted the impact on their business. "This essentially means that our manufacturing supplies will arrive on time, speeding up production and sales. The improved capacity and efficiency of MPS Terminal 3 is impressive and commendable for a company that depends on improved transport services.
Mohamed Samara, CEO of MPS, added that the choice of the port of Tema as the first port of call for ships from the Far East is important for Ghana's trade and industry. "This strategic decision aims to reduce the shortest transit time, cut shipping costs and improve the entire logistics chain."
He added: "This facilitates faster turnaround of goods, enabling companies to operate with greater agility and responsiveness to market demands, promoting growth and competitiveness."
Supporting economic development in Ghana and neighboring countries
In essence, the designation of the Port of Tema as the first port of call not only consolidates the port's capabilities, but also highlights MPS's key role in promoting economic development through increased trade efficiency, reduced shipping costs and an optimized supply chain.
This strategic initiative should greatly benefit the dynamic trade and industry sector in Ghana and neighboring coastal countries, extending its positive impact to landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali. This initiative strengthens Ghana's position as a hub in the global marketplace.