By Lewis S. Teh
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed to renew a long-standing partnership agreement between the National Port Authority (NPA) and the Georgia Port Authority (GPA).
The signing ceremony took place Tuesday, 26 April 2022 in Monrovia when the NPA hosted delegates from the United States representing the Houston Atlanta Trade Mission.
Making the opening statement, NPA Managing Director Bill Twehway said he was overly excited about the signing of the MOU, noting that it means a lot for the NPA and Liberia.
According to Mr. Twehway, the agreement will provide NPA and GPA the opportunity to promote a strong working relationship and exchange information and expertise in the areas of marketing, operation, training, and infrastructure development, among others.
He added that the MOU was never binding on the two countries to do a special thing, like other MOU, but it is meant to strengthen and deepen the longstanding relationship the two cities have had over the years.
“I want to inform the Liberian people that this MOU is non-binding or it is not legally binding that will obligate [the] government to live up to the term, but this is just an MOU intended to strengthen the relationship between the NPA and the Georgia Port Authority,” he explained.
Tweahway narrated that Liberia has four ports which include the port of Harper in Maryland County, the Port of Greenville in Sinoe County, the Port of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County, and the Port of Monrovia, Montserrado County.
He stated that among those ports, only the port of Monrovia is in good standing and it’s being controlled by APM Terminals.
“We are excited to sign this MOU because we believe that investors will come and take over the port of Harper, Greenville and the rest of the ports, and we are praying that you will help us to grow like you,” he said.
Also speaking on behalf of the Georgia Port Authority, Mr. John Petrino, Director of Business Development and International Marketing, Georgia Port Authority, said the signing of the MOU will significantly progress the ports of the two cities.
“I’m so excited and proud today to have formed part of this history-making process. Our two cities have come a long way and we believe this MOU will go a long way in strengthening our various ports’ operations,” said Mr. Petrino.
He said he envisions the National Port Authority as a future gateway to major important markets in Liberia and the Georgia Port Authority is engaging authorities in Liberia through the signing of the long-standing partnership agreement to help in that direction.
For her part, Ms. Cynthia L. Blandford, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Strategies Good and Honorary Consul of Liberia in the State of Georgia, said the MOU is usually beneficial to continue the alliance for the purpose of encouraging trade between Liberia and the State of Georgia in the United States.
She said the delegation was here to support Liberia through the signing of an MOU between the two partners that will promote trade, import and export among others.
According to her, participants will benefit from job training, marketing activities and share information from time to time.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the Chatham County in the State of Georgia, Mr. Aaron Whitley, said it is more than an honor to be on Liberian soil to sign the agreement including the bicentennial, adding that the signing ceremony is a call for celebrating the success and growth that Liberia has made.
“Import from Georgia is about 36%. Let’s make this happen frequently. I’m proud to witness this agreement between the Georgia Port and the NPA and I look forward to being part of the growth,” he said.
The Georgia Port Authority, which is being considered the fourth-largest and fastest-growing port in the United States, was created on March 9, 1945, by an Act of the Georgia Legislature with the mission to empower entrepreneurs, strengthen industries, sustain communities and fortify families by relentlessly striving to accelerate global commerce.