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TIN news:   Before Liberia slipped into nearly two decades of civil wars, the Freeport of Monrovia was one of the main ports within the West African sub region as neighbouring countries used the port for transportation of containers and other cargos from Europe and other countries around the world.
“I am really excited about this because it is a game changer for us as we all know, the Freeport of Monrovia operates at 12-hour schedule but will now be operating 24 hours”- David Williams, Managing Director, National Port Authority
Liberia was a suitable ground for ships to dock and offload thereby making the country a commercial hub for the sub region.
This made the prices of commodities cheaper in Liberia with traders from other countries coming to purchase since ship owners prefer docking and offloading at the Freeport.
The years of civil wars led the Freeport into dormancy and shifted the transportation route to the Port of Lome’ in Togo and other ports around the region have grown stronger and better in terms of transportation and attracting ships from across the world.
In recent months the revival of the Freeport and other ports in Liberia has been gaining momentum beginning with the installation of aid to navigation at the Port City of Buchanan which is now operating twenty-four hours.
For the first time after several years of operations, not knowing the risk involved with vessels sailing at the Freeport of Monrovia, 14 Bulbs for aid to navigation have been installed at the Port.
The bulbs serves as a path way to easily direct vessels moving to the Freeport, and David Williams, NPA Managing Director told FrontPageAfrica that there exists a harbour for sailing vessels at the port.
“Not only will the aid to navigation serve the aforesaid, but also, it will facilitate a night time operation for the first time since 30 years ago, enabling vessels to sail at night”, say Williams.
Vessels are currently not sailing at night due to the absence of aid to navigation, something that frightened captains and sailors on board, a situation that is denying the National Port Authority from generating the needed revenue.
During a mini-boat tour of the 14 aid to navigations Wednesday, Managing Director Williams told FrontPageAfrica that the installation of the bulbs will enable 24-hour operation at the port, since the port was previously operating for 12 hours, meaning no work during the night time.
Sirleaf to commission bulbs
The bulbs according to him are functional, but are expected to be operational by May, 2016, following the conclusion of discussion with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who will accordingly commission the bulbs.
Describing it as historic, the NPA boss noted that the installation of the bulbs has brought an enormous difference at the port, since there had been none to serve as aid of direction since 30 years.
This, he pointed, will create boost in government revenue generation, increase the revenue generation process at the port and lead to additional job creation as well as a result of additional workers that are now needed at the Freeport of Monrovia who will fulfill the 24 hours service plan.
Prior to the installation of the aid to navigation, FrontPageAfrica also gathered that mini-boats were used in most instances to reach out to other vessels that find it difficult to identify the Freeport of Monrovia, Harbor.
During a deep sea tour of 12.2 meters lead by Captain Winter, Director Williams said – “With the bulbs there will be more vessels coming in and leaving the port”, adding that it will at the same time make it easier for dredging at the port, since the various depths at which the bulbs are installed are known.
Furthermore, Director Williams intoned that the National Port Authority further intends to extend the initiative to other ports outside Monrovia, something he said, has already started with the Port of Buchannan.
He made special emphasis on the Fairway Bulb which serves as the first spotlight or indication to vessels coming to the port that there exist a harbor at Freeport.
While on the Atlantic, Captain Wynter explained to FrontPageAfrica that each of the bulbs has a solar panel that stores electricity while at the same time, each has an inbuilt battery that will help provide electricity during the rainy season.
Captain Wynter stated that the inbuilt battery has the ability of storing electricity for up to 305 days.
Improvement of Jetty
At the same time, the National Port Authority is installing a new Jetty that will provide easy transport of cargo leaving various vessels sailing at the Port for the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, LPRC.
The installation is aimed at addressing the deplorable state of the old jetty being used to transport petroleum at the LPRC.
“Two pipelines have already been constructed for case of emergency in fuel storage ahead of the installation of the new jetty”, said Director Williams.
The initiative according to Managing Director Williams is a World Bank Project that is being implemented in collaboration with LPRC as a result of the condition of the current Jetty.
Already, one Jetty has been installed by China Union in 2013 and is used for bringing in Iron Ore at the Port.
Meanwhile, Managing Director Williams has revealed plans to expand the harbour for the accommodation of at least four vessels at a time instead of three that it currently accommodates.
Currently, Director Williams said, it is three ships only that sail at once at the port.
Safe channels
According to Captain Wynter, the bulbs will show the safe channel for ships.
“The bulbs show that there is a safe channel and we have the rock piled up to show that there is danger of high current wave from the ocean and that you have to be careful. The foundation is 11.5 meters and not weak” Captain Wynter.
The captain averred that the Jetty Project has nothing to do with the pathway, especially creating danger for vessels sailing at the Freeport of Monrovia and moreover better for dredging of the port.
According to him, the aid to navigation will indicate where the shadow areas exist and calls for a quick turnaround of the port, hence operating for seven days and night at the port.
Captain Wynter furthered: “The Red and Green Bulbs indicate that there are two driveways for vessels sailing at the harbour. The bulbs were installed on April 23, 2016”.
However, Director Williams on the other hand named the inspection as the first of its kind since the installation of the bulbs, and said that the NPA Management looks forward to carrying out a night inspection as a means of guarantee the electricity status of the 14 aid of navigations as well as taking a drive around the bulbs.

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