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Freeport Lacks Adequate Space

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Liberia’s National Port Authority (NPA) Director Matilda Parker says the Freeport of Monrovia is getting so busy and running out of space, citing several companies that are occupying the vicinity of the NPA.

“So as you can see, the Port of Monrovia is getting so busy; we are running out of space- mainly for vessels to come in and dock. So right there, we are going to be building a 500-meter quay which will help us to have more places for vessels to come in and dock,” said Madam Parker.

Making a power point presentation at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) Thursday press briefing, Parker named the China Union, APM Terminals, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), and the French owned Gas Station Total, among others as tenants of the Freeport of Monrovia.

She recalled that Liberia’s four ports under the NPA, including the Freeport of Monrovia, Buchanan, Greenville and Fish Town ports faced enormous problems during the country’s civil war, saying “So a lot of the infrastructures were damaged and the equipment, we need to expand….”

She also told the media that the [shipping] industry is changing, on grounds that vessels have been built larger than the capacity of the ports in Liberia. She recalled that when vessels used to come here years back, they used to bring in 1,000 to 2,000 containers; instead, they are now built to bring in 10,000 containers, beyond Liberia’s ports capacities.

“So we have to adjust the size of the ports; we have to drag deeper, we have to open our entrance channels so that we can continue to compete with the way the industry is moving on,” said Matilda Parker.

The MD said when she first took over the entity, the Freeport of Monrovia used to handle 97 percent of the country’s traffic, while the three other ports handled the rest.

“But that was not good because our economy could elapse if there was any problem that could cut-off the rest of the country from Monrovia. Therefore, we have now disbursed shipping opportunities, with Monrovia handling 60% of the traffic, Buchanan is 21%, and the other ports handle the rests,” she added.

Notwithstanding, the NPA boss said from time in memorial, the value of the port has trigger-down effects on the entire economy by providing job opportunities for the people, among others. She said as ship comes in, more people are hired to up load, offload, and to take goods to the supermarkets, among others.

Moreover, she revealed that when the vessels anchor at the port, they are charged according to international water [principles] wherein the longer they stay the more they will pay.

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