A ship repair dock in Ghana has secured US$94mn in senior debt funding from a consortium including the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), both of which have previously provided loans to the project. It has now met its US$137mn capital target.

The borrower is Prime Meridian Docks Assetco Limited (PMD), a special purpose entity nine years into a 25-year concession from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. The lenders are the AfDB, Afreximbank, the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and Petra Pension Schemes.

The project, nicknamed Shiprite, will operate from Ghana’s western Takoradi port and hopes to boost intra-African trade by addressing the need for local ship repair and maintenance services in the Gulf of Guinea.

When completed, the project will comprise of a newbuild 13,500 tonne lift-capacity floating drydock, 30,000m3 of reclaimed land, a 200m jetty, modern workshop, offices and heavy marine equipment. It will also provide repairs for offshore and subsea vessels and drilling rigs.

“Shipowners with operations in several countries in the region need to travel up to 5,500km away in some cases to obtain the same service. The project will reduce the carbon footprint of shipowner operations as a result, in addition to generating forex, boosting the local economy, creating jobs, and improving infrastructure and logistics in Ghana,” says Michael Awori, CEO of TDB.

Kanayo Awani, executive vice-president of Afreximbank says of the project: “The strategic location of this facility will provide shipowners whose vessels trade within the Gulf of Guinea with world-class repair and maintenance services.

“We are confident that Shiprite will enhance intra-African trade and foster regional economic growth and integration. By providing services that would have otherwise been lost to foreign shipyard repair facilities, the interventions of Prime Meridian Docks will retain much-needed foreign currency within the continent.”

According to its 2022 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report, construction of the port is expected to take around 400 days and employ 150 locals alongside 10 expats, with 245 engaged in the dock once it is operational.

Ghana has experienced severe currency devaluation in the past two years, leading its value of exports to fall from US$9.2bn in mid-year 2022 to US$8.1bn in mid-year 2023. though it managed to turn a trade deficit into a surplus in the same time period, according to the government’s mid-year 2023 trade report.