The Port of Tema lies on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in southeastern Ghana. About 29 kilometers east-northeast of Accra, the country’s Capital. Tema is one of two deep-water ports in Ghana, and it is the largest seaport. In 2005, about 209 thousand people lived in the Port of Tema.
Once a small fishing village called Torman, the Port of Tema was established in 1962 with the construction of its deep-water harbor (the largest man-made harbor in Africa). Only 29 kilometers from Ghana’s capital city of Accra, rail and road links make it Ghana’s biggest and most important port.
By 1950, Ghana’s existing ports did not have capacity to handle the country’s increased international trade. Tema was chosen in 1951 for a new port because of its location and deep waters offshore.
Before Ghana won independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, the new government selected Torman as the site for its new modern seaport. Displaced residents moved about 1-1/2 miles away and named their new village Newtown. Closer to the coast, Newton was a rich fishing site.
The harbor, township, and several industrial facilities were completed in 1962, when the Port of Tema became Ghana’s “Harbour City” and industrial hub. The government acquired over 16 hectares of land, giving the Tema Development Corporation responsibility for development.
Being planned city, Tema benefited from an efficient network of roads and carefully-placed social amenities and recreational centers. The new village of Newtown, with about 120 thousand people, was not developed because the sudden influx of people overwhelmed planners. The slum has persisted despite the efforts of the Tema Municipal Council.
The Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority is responsible for developing, managing, and operating Port of Tema facilities.
Even though the Port of Tema is the younger of Ghana’s two seaports, it handles 80% of the nation’s international cargo. In 2006, the Port of Tema handled 7 million tons of imports and 1.1 million tons of exports on 1994 vessels. Included in the cargo were 425.4 thousand TEUs of containerized cargo.
The Port of Tema’s harbor covers 166 hectares of the Atlantic Ocean. The port has 12 deep-water berths on two quays with paved apron offering 2.2 thousand square meters. Quay 2 contains a dedicated state-of-the-art container terminal with a quay of 570 meters with alongside depth of 11.5 meters. The port also includes facilities for roll-on/roll-off vessels, a berth for oil tankers, warehouses, transit buildings, and facilities for cold storage. A fishing harbor with facilities for storing and selling fish is located east of the commercial harbor. The Port of Tema also has a 100 thousand DWT dry dock and slipway facility.
The Port of Tema offers 77.2 thousand square meters of paved storage area for containers, conventional cargoes, and steel products. Closed storage areas of a total 25 thousand square meters are made up of six sheds with capacity to store a total of 50 thousand tons of cargo. The Port of Tema includes five off-dock container terminals that receive, store, and deliver containerized cargos.