Port expansion project by Chinese firm delivers value to local Ghanaians

Ebenezer Martey Goku is a construction technician in Ghana's eastern port city of Tema, about 40 km east of the capital Accra. Until August 2016, his civil works experience had been mainly in the areas of road construction.

In 2016, Goku found a job with the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) which had just been awarded the 1.5 billion US dollars contract by the Meridian Port Services (MPS) for the expansion of the Tema Port.

Goku considers the experience gathered over the past three years working with the Chinese firm as a very important one both for his skills enhancement and the finance of his family.

Speaking to Xinhua at the project site, Goku named financial security and skills transfer as the two major benefits the Ghanaian employees have had working with the renowned Chinese construction firm.

"I have gained a lot of experience because I have never handled a project like this before. It has been a great learning experience," Goku said.

At the project, local artisans and their supervisors receive training from the Chinese engineers and carry out the construction. In case of any challenges, the local workers consult their Chinese engineers, and together they resolve the technical issues.

"We all know about the unemployment in this country. But through this project, I have been able to cater for my family, and I have been financially secure." Goku said.

There were more than 1,000 locals employed from the inception of the project. The number of local employees now stands at about 800 as the first phase of the project nears completion.

The project has also expanded the horizon of Sulemana Yakubu, a paramedic officer at the project.

"I have gained knowledge in construction and marine safety management through working with CHEC over the past three years," he old Xinhua.

The project is also going to help the country in many ways, and create even greater numbers of indirect jobs in retail trade, transportation, haulage, downstream petroleum and stevedoring, among others, he added.

"The Chinese engineers, I would say, they have worked marvelously well. And everything is working perfectly." Yakubu said.

When completed, the Tema port is expected to increase its current business levels, and help with the opening up of landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

The first phase of the project created a 3,558-meter long breakwater and a 1,000 meter new wharf with 700 meters already handed over to the MPS for test-running.

On the other hand, managers at CHEC are also highly appreciative of their local members of staff.

"I like the Ghanaian workers and sub-contractors so much because they are very honest, hardworking and helpful. All the Chinese like them and we share our experiences with them. We give them targets and they deliver," Zhou Gai, Deputy Construction Manager for CHEC said.

The MPS awarded a new contract worth 110 million dollars to the Chinese firm last month for the second phase of the Tema port expansion project.

Editor: 曹家宁