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Dutch Company Prepares to Dredge Ports of Monrovia, Greenville

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 | 12:44
A Dutch-based international port dredging and marine engineering company, Van Oord, has deployed sophisticated survey vessel to Liberia.
The ship will conduct survey for debris and sand clogged at the seaports of Monrovia and Greenville in Montserrado and Sinoe Counties respectively.
The ship/boat arrived in the country few days ago. It was displayed at the Freeport of Monrovia yesterday.
The impending survey is also intended to get the actual quantity of sand that is gradually closing up the ports’ entry points for vessels calling in, including the ports’ basins.
The survey will subsequently pave the way for commencement of dredging.
The surveyors will also look at the degree of shadowiness of the two ports, where, and how deep they are at the moment, and recommend to the National Port Authority (NPA) Management on how to proceed including where to dredge.
According to National Port Authority Managing Director, Madam Matilda Wokie Parker, the Freeport of Monrovia’s survey will focus on the port’s entry point and its basin.
This will allow bigger ships to call at the port and subsequently reduce or remove risk insurance on ships. The Freeport of Liberia is gateway to the country’s economy.
As for the port of Greenville, dredging it will allow bigger vessels to call in, thus opening windows of opportunity for the 14 logging companies operating in the southeastern region of the country to export their logs to the international market.
About 75 percent of the people in Sinoe County depend on the seaport there for employment.
A senior lawmaker of the county recently appealed to the NPA Management to speedup with the dredging contract as his people were awaiting resumption of economic activities in the county from the port.
As for the NPA boss, employment of the people in that part of the region is critical.  Moreover, “it makes good business sense to dredge the two ports so that bigger vessels can come in for more revenue generation for the port and government.”
According to Mrs. Parker, vessels are usually charged according to their weight, therefore, the NNP Management believes that the Government of Liberia will record huge financial value if the country’s major seaports are dredged.
It may be recalled that on Sunday, January 29, 2012, Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractor signed over US$20 million agreement with the NPA to dredge the ports of Monrovia and Greenville.
The deal was signed after the Dutch Company won a competitive bid that was contested by five leading global port dredging companies.
According to the agreement, Van Oord is to conduct a survey of the two ports in order to compare its findings with that of the NPA’s own survey before commencing the dredging exercise.
Port sources told our reporter yesterday that the surveying exercise for the Freeport of Monrovia will take few weeks, while that of Greenville will last for not more than a month.
The main dredging exercise will follow immediately after the survey and Van Oord is expected to take between four to six weeks to dredge each of the ports.
In the presence of Mr. Nyekeh Forkpa, Acting NPA Deputy Managing Director for Administration and other senior officials of the NPA, Mrs. Parker explained that the dredging is very important because the Freeport of Monrovia sits in the middle of water and that the wave pattern constantly brings sand into its basin and the sand builds up.
She indicated that the entrance of the Freeport of Monrovia needs constant dredging because the port has two brick waters.
As for the port of Greenville, Madam Parker noted that it will need to be dredged because it had been closed for more than a decade.
According to her, the port of Greenville will require maintenance dredging-which means after every two years, while the Freeport of Monrovia will undergo both regular maintenance and capital dredging.
Meanwhile, Buchanan Port was dredged recently and now has a depth of 14.95 meters.
The ports entry channel is about 14 meters. Buchanan is probably the deepest harbor in Liberia.
Source: Liberian Observer
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