MONROVIA – Seaports serve as crossroads for import, export and transformation in delivery from maritime transport to rail, road and inland waterway transport, thus, of utmost importance to the development of marine economy in particular, national economy in general. Today, over 80% of all trade across the world is seaborne.
History of urban development reveals that economic advancement is especially apparent in cities with seaports, this is why the Freeport of Monrovia prides itself as the “gateway to the economy”, a key functionary of international significance that must be providing connectivity to global markets, for the wider Liberian economy.
Notwithstanding, Liberia lacks the critical export base needed to accelerate increased foreign transactions.
In the face of these challenges, ArcelorMittal Liberia as part of its Phase Two Expansion, is making good on its plan to make additional investment in the Port of Buchanan to strengthen its cargo handling capacity- a justified investment into upgrading transport facilities as a stimulator of economic growth of Liberia.
This investment in the Port of Buchanan will demonstrate how seaborne trade when harnessed can spur the economy through jobs provision, income generation, competitiveness, and technology penetration.
Since the Liberian civil crisis, economic impacts of Buchanan Port have been in decline, with fewer jobs that were directly dependent on the operations of the port.
Buchanan Port has no longer been among the major employers in the county for and the industrial inter-related complexities no longer existed, further reducing the impact of ports on the local economy
The benefits of ArcelorMittal’s investing in transport infrastructure like the port of Buchanan is long term and will not be limited to travel-time saving alone, but also will show that improved cargo services lead to growing trade, followed by improved labor supply and technical diffusion.
The Phase Two Expansion will have significant impact and increase activities as very soon; there will be huge logistical movement between Europe, South Africa and the port of Buchanan.
In the same vein, AML’s investment this key physical infrastructure without doubt seeks to create a better business environment and improves transport efficiency for other concessions that are involved with the exportation and importation cargo to Liberia
The enhanced operational activities at the port will deliver quality of port services, logistics costs, regional connectivity, hinterland condition and port accessibility that contributes significantly to the competitiveness of the Port of Buchanan.
This position was recently solidified by ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Head of Logistics and Material Management for its Phase Two Expansion project, Leslie Dodds when he recently received a team of managers from the Port of Buchanan.
Dodds even admitted that several vessels are expected to dock at the Buchanan port, to deliver materials for the project, following the first voyage, mid-September, this year.
The vessel Breadbox, according to AML Phase Two project Logistics Manager will ship more than 4,000 rails to Buchanan, from Spain, and load for shipment to South Africa a consignment of logistics equipment, meant for the project, to South Africa, for repair and reshipment to Liberia.
This is an investment of ArcelorMittal the management of the port of Buchanan has even welcomed with open arms as having the capacity that it will boost operations and income generation, for the port and the Government of Liberia and create more jobs for Liberians.
“Such partnership, especially when earnestly done, brings a lot of boosts and enthusiasm and helps the workers to have a great experience. The Port of Buchanan through its commercial pier is going to be a direct beneficiary of the AML Phase Two expansion project, and we’re very, very happy to see that happening,” he said.
AML’s effort to enhance the quality of port infrastructure in Buchanan has a positive effect on the national economy mediated through logistics performance and seaborne trade that can permit the government to collect additional revenue that can solve national challenges related to health, education roads and other services.
This is why we have argued that as AML expands communities that directly witness its operation benefit from increase in economic activities and community development works directly or indirectly.