September 13, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
General Manager of the Sierra Leone Port Authority, Abu Bakarr Bangura, has told pressmen last week Thursday that the construction of the authority’s exit road would cost about five hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$500,000).
He said for the past 20 years, they have been trying to improve on the exit road, which he said was very strategic for the operation of the Port and that they wish they could get some government funding to fast track the project.
“The whole Port is being powered by solar panels. We have outsourced the Marine Slip Way which is now the only garage for marine vessels in Sierra Leone. We have been rated first in the first quarter of 2016,” he said.
He noted that they have restructured the Port and that in December 2015, they paid end of service benefit to every employee of the Port, while many were on training.
He disclosed that they would outsource the towing service of the harbor department.
“The reason for outsourcing this is that we don’t have the financial and technical capacity to maintain what are needed for the smooth running of the department,” he said.
He said the expansion project of the Port would be the next project they would focus on, and that that at the moment they have six berths-two for bulk and break bulk cargo and the four for containers.
The Port’s General Manager disclosed that the additional berth would be constructed by Bollore Freetown Terminal and that the seventh berth would be about 270 meters long with a draft of 13 meters.
He said the development would enable the port accommodate bigger vessels.
“All these would help us achieve our ultimate goal to transform the Port into a trans-shipment hub. If the Port becomes a trans-shipment hub, it means ships leaving Brazil would transfer their cargoes to smaller ones because the unit price of the cargo would be cheaper,” he said.
The Port General Manager said they would be tasking employees to be more strategic in the delivery of services, adding that he has asked every department to submit their work plans by the end of December.
“We also need to bridge the gap between what is happening at the Port and the perception out there. We are now focusing on transforming the Port into a customer service organization,” he said.
He said customers everywhere in the world should be able to call a toll free line and enquire about issues relating to their containers and other goods at the Port.
“The challenge we have here is that we deal with so many stakeholders including clearing and forwarding agents. These people are not supervised by us and we have no control over them. Some of them take more than they can handle and when anything goes wrong, authorities of the port will be blamed,” he said.