A high-power Japanese Trade Delegation currently visiting Liberia last Friday, July 4, 2014, held a one day Liberia/Japan Business & Investment Dialogue in the Port City of Buchanan with key stakeholders in the sector making presentation at the well-attended forum.
The stakeholders at the forum were the National Port Authority (NPA), the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry with presentation on the importance of the Liberian seaports sector.
Making her presentation, the Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Madam Matilda Wokie Parker who gave brief background of her entity to the trade delegation, noted that since the NPA was established by an Act of the National Legislature in 1967 and amended in 1970 as a state-owned corporation was given the authority to manage and plan the four ports of Liberia.
The four ports include the Freeport of Monrovia, the Port of Buchanan, the Port of Greenville and the Port of Harper.
She told the delegation that the Port of Monrovia was constructed in 1943 through the provision of funds by the United States government, and completed in 1948, which was named as the Monrovia Port Management Limited (MPML) took over its management in 1967, and further assumed responsibility as an Authority under legal reorganization which is now known as the National Port Authority in 1970.
On the establishment of the Buchanan Port, the NPA Managing Director in her splendid presentation told the Japanese trade delegation and other government officials at the Business and Investment Dialogue, that the Port was established by the Liberia/American Swedish Mining Corporation in 1960. She noted that prior to the establishment of the Buchanan Port the Port of Harper was established in 1959 on Russwun Island.
In 1962, Madam Parker recounted the construction of the fourth Port; the Port of Greenville was constructed by the African Fruit Company (AFC) with the sole purpose of exporting bananas. The Port of Greenville was also reconstructed in 1980 with a loan from the German Development Fund for logging exportation.
On the success story of the Freeport of Monrovia, Madam Parker told the Japanese trade delegation that in 2009 the NPA signed a Memorandum of Friendship and Trade Cooperation with the Port of Houston, and in 2010, the Freeport of Monrovia achieved the ISPS Security Level One Compliance, repaired damaged roads, created high level security featured access passes needed for entry into all ports, signed Memorandum of Friendship and Trade Cooperation with the Georgia Port Authority.
In her presentation, the NPA Managing Director also spoke of her management’s success during 2011, including the commencement of the APM Terminal operations in the Freeport of Monrovia, the shipment of the first iron ore out of the Port of Buchanan in 20 years.
She also said the Port of Buchanan secured the ISPS Security Level One Compliance, the launching of the coastal transportation from Monrovia to Greenville and harper, and in 2013 completed the construction of the marginal quay in the Freeport of Monrovia, the completion of the construction of the BMC Pier.
Madam Parker also boasted the increase of the Freeport of Monrovia Vessel Traffic during the year 2013 of a total of 354 vessels with a net registered ton of 1,998,839 as compared to 2012 vessels figure of 368 with a registered ton 0f 2,112,989.68.
During the presentation the NPA boss named several key developmental projects at the Freeport of Monrovia include: the construction of an additional 200m marginal wharf, the construction of an oil jetty and the construction of the entity’s headquarters complex.
Financially, the NPA boss booming with smiles boasted of 2% increase in Operating Revenue in 2013 and a positive 3% decrease in Operating Expense in comparison noting, “This year, we recorded the following operational achievements for the Port of Buchanan, the port of Greenville and the Port of Harper combined: Total output vessel traffic increased by 42.9%, Total output of cargo throughput increased by 111%, Total output net registered Ton (NRT) increased by 146.7%, Total Output Summer Dead Weight (SDWT) increased by 154.6%, while the Total Output Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) containers increased by 961%,” Madam Parker told the delegation with heavy applauds from the audience.
Following the National Port Authority Managing Director’s presentation, the Japanese Trade delegation and other guests took on a tour of the Port of Buchanan facilities despite of a daylong heavy down pour of rains.
Speaking to reporters, the head of the Japanese Trade Delegation, Sachio Kaneki on behalf of his colleagues expressed thanks and appreciation to the NPA management for allowing them the opportunity for a unique tour of the Buchanan Port facilities, and assured the management of their interest to invest in Liberia, especially the country’s seaports sector.
At the end of the one day Liberia/Japanese Business & Investment Dialogue, a delicious Liberian dishes were served with lots of exchange of investment thoughts amongst participants including the Japanese.