February 28, 2021 [Front Page Africa] HARPER, Maryland County — President George Manneh Weah has broken ground for the construction of a petroleum storage terminal facility (PST) as he commissioned the Harper Port refurbishment project on Thursday.
The PST is expected to be constructed within a period of two years at an estimated cost of US$6 million.At the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, February 25, President Weah noted that the facility will enable the storage of more petroleum in Harper for onward commercialization.
Besides, President Wesh added that the construction of the multipurpose office complex and petroleum storage facility envisions economic viability at the Maryland Port of entry.
The project when completed, will at the same time help address the age-old constraints associated with the supply of petrol products to major southeastern counties including Maryland, River Gee, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh.
President Weah heaped praises on the Managing Director of the National Port Authority Mr. Bill Twehway for being developmental-oriented as he referenced several other major projects under the port management as good examples.
The Port of Harper has had no storage facility, since the climax of the civil crisis in Liberia, thus leading to dealers in the petroleum industry to import their product from next door Ivory Coast.
Some dealers in Harper who spoke with FrontPageAfrica said they are importing products from neighboring Ivory Coast due to deplorable road condition along the southeastern corridor.
As a result, they said Maryland has continued to face hike in prices or petroleum products, even before the Weah’s administration.
However, President Weah noted that it was necessary to embarked on the PST construction in order to ease the burden faced to import petroleum.
He said: “While it is true that PST is constructed, it is equally important to dredge the port to enable bigger vessel to dock in.”
His comment was in response to plead from Mr. Twehway who called on the government for help to dredge the port.
“Mr. President, there is a serious need to dredge this port, but NPA is not able to do it on her own, so if government through the Ministry pf Finance can help us with subsidy, it will be of great help,” Twehway averred.He said the current depth limit of the harbor is 5.5 meters due to paddling of sand.
Due to this, he added that only smaller vessels can dock at the Harper Port.
“His Excellency, if the port is dredge to 10 or at least 13 meters, bigger vessels will be able to dock and investors will be able to bring in their goods,” Mr. Twehway maintained.
The NPA Managing Director Bill described the project as a “milestone development” for the Port of Harper following years of “poor infrastructure and inactive operations.”
The project, according to the Twehway, is in keeping with government’s vision to refurbish and operationalize the ports to ensure super economic activities throughout the country.
Also speaking at the commissioning ceremony was Harper Port Director William Wallace and Leon Nynetu of Express Oil Importation Liberia who in separate statements said, the project will create jobs, reduce commodity prices and ease unwanted hardship for commuters especially during the raining season.
Mr. Wallace explained, that the ‘lifelines of the port is tied to its brand-new super structure outlook; adding the plans are also underway for Golden Veroleum to construct a giant size palm oil storage facility.
This, he said, will necessitate the need for dredging and other capital projects at port.
The Harper Port refurbishment project is Private Public Partnership arrangement by and through a Liberian Owned Company – Express Oil Importation Liberia Incorporated.
Located about 762 kilometers away from Monrovia within the Southeastern region of Liberia near the border with Ivory Cost, the Port of Harper was established 1959 on the Rocky Russian Island and has a breakwater of 150 kilometers with reinforced Pier and dept of 5.5 meters.
It was established for the exportation of palm oil, rubber and timber while at the same time importing machinery, building materials and other consumable goods.
However, as a result of the civil war, these activities are no longer effective.
Currently, the Port of Harper is partially dormant with dilapidated buildings and old containers placed in the open field.
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