Grand Bassa County Superintendent Mr. Levi Demmah says government is in discussions with the ECOWAS Refinery to look at the possibility of constructing an oil refinery at the Port of Buchanan to expand revenue generation there.
Supt. Demmah told journalists at the Port of Buchanan this week that the port is second to the Freeport of Monrovia, and that the ECOWAS Refiner has already paid visit here last week.
“If that is done, one of the possible places that they could also partnership … would be the port. So in that direction, you see that even if that is done – the expansion – the revenues and everything you’re talking about – coming back to the Government of Liberia is going to be increased,” said Supt. Demmah.
He also spoke of another investor seeking to construct a wood-chip factory to do furniture here, saying if all of these are being exported, they would be expanding Buchanan Port’s activities.
“Currently we have five logging companies; they are loading on that vessel. And we are in discussion with all of those institutions to make sure that the port is relevant to the entire commercialization of the local content [to] bring economy to the government,” he said.
Buchanan Port Manager Mr. Patrick M. Kanneh boasted of “huge revenues being generated from the Port of Buchanan” based on the vessels traffic there.
He however ruled out providing details as to how much the port is contributing to government revenues, referring journalists to the National Port Authority because his office is squarely dealing with technical matters.
Mr. Kanneh says the port operates 24 hours a day throughout the week, loading and discharging vessels.
As at the time of the tour of the port, he said a vessel was loading logs, except that there were little system breakdown at SGS that is responsible to process documents for all logs that are being exported from Liberia.
“Our understanding is that they had a crash in the system and so they are working on it right now. So as soon that is done we can pick up right away,” he said.
Additionally, he said a vessel with logs was at the Port of Greenville in Sinoe County and was expected to come at the Port of Buchanan for additional logs before shipment.
Mr. Kanneh recalled that when operation started at the Port of Buchanan in 2010, the facility had an average of one vessel per month, but it has since increased up to 15 vessels per month by 2013 and 2014.
However,he admitted that right now the port is experiencing a little downward trend because of the global economy that is affecting prices of iron ore and timber.
He noted it was a surprise that during the time of Ebola, the Buchanan Port had more vessels than expected, expressing appreciation to the Board of Directors and NPA Managing Director Mr.David Williams for always being supportive.
The port operates a commercial pier separately from its iron ore pier, with the commercial pier which measures 10.5 meters in its basin and 320 meters in length having capacity to birth two vessels at the same time depending on the length.Editing by Jonathan Browne