Ghana's Ministry of Harbours and Railways on Thursday denied media reports that it has suspended the contract between the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and Meridian Port Services (MPS) to shorehandle containers in Tema Port.

A statement signed by Mr Ahmed Ayuba, Special Assistant to the sector Minster, Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, said no directive had been issued regarding the suspension of the contract.The statement said following increased agitation by indigenous stevedoring companies on stevedore operations, Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi invited the Ghana Association of Stevedoring Companies (GASCO) where he reaffirmed that the implementation of rights under the concession agreement between GPHA and MPS with respect to shorehandling of containers in the Tema Port had been suspended.

“The Minister assured GASCO that a meeting among GPHA, GASCO and the Ministry will be held to identify and resolve challenges facing stevedore companies in the Tema Port.”

Early last week, the Times newspaper reported that the GPHA had suspended the implementation of a license agreement under which MPS was expected to handle all vessels carrying more than 50 containers to the port. In the said report, Kwadwo Adansi Bonna, General Manager of GPHA, explained that though the implementation was based on the license agreement, it had not been approved by the GPHA. This was after another media reports on the mounting tension at the port over the decision by GPHA to implement the contract with MPS.

Eight indigenous stevedoring companies had complained that the implementation of the contract would collapse their businesses and make about 3,000 workers jobless. Under the contract, MPS would handle vessels with 50 and more containers. The company has the technological advantage for quick turn around time for ships.