Passenger and Goods Terminal at Akosombo Port

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Attempts have already been made at exploiting the full transport potential of Lake Volta for a smooth operating, low cost, transport system which will offer Ghana an extra transport capacity and a n alternative to road transport in the shipment of goods and passengers between northern and southern Ghana. A transport system in the early stages of development is in development over the 400km length of the Lake. It has some facilities for handling the increasing volume of traffic but this falls short of providing the necessary quality of services for handling passengers and tourists, who patronize it, and volumes of cargo it has to haul. The existence of bottlenecks in the present system’s operation, like poor access routes to port hinterlands and lack of adequate cargo handling facilities places a limit on its performance. From the technical point of view, the lake is well suited for inland navigation and the lake has a great potential for absorbing the extra traffic burden on the country’s road transport network, offering a cheaper and therefore a competitive route between the North and the South. Its development will go a long way towards making possible the national development objective of regional balance and resource development through opening up for agricultural and industrial development of the northern regions. This project is aimed at examining the overall economic significance and justification of a programme aimed at improving and expanding the Volta Lake Transport System (VLTS) with special reference to present and future transport demand and traffic flows between Accra/Tema region and the northern parts of Ghana for goods and services. It further intends to make recommendations as to the improvements of the Lake transport system (LTS) to meet the increasing transport demand through identification of VLTS capacity gaps. On the basis of the above it is intended to define and justify facilities to be provided towards the achievement of these ends and hence make detailed proposals for the design of and evolvement of a design for the passenger and goods terminal for Lake Port Akosombo capable of handling the projected traffic for the forecast year 1990. 0.2 Nature and scope of the survey Towards these objectives, information had to be collected from published sources and through own interviews with VRA and VLTC administrative and operational staff on: (i) Lake Transport Systems (ii) VLTS present and projected traffic demand (iii) Operational set-up of ULTC (iv) Other related aspects of the project. Interviews with officials from VLTC and ULTC were necessary to understand the technical, operating and social aspects of the Inland water Navigational System. Through these interviews and the various reference materials it was established that: - From the technical point of view, L. Volta is well suited for inland navigation and there exist problems of uncleared lake bottom and seasonal shallow waters, in portions of the lake, which are surmountable at current lake levels. - The minimum depth of water required for navigation is 2.8m (depending on the type of vessel employed and its draught). - The long run lake elevations are expected to fluctuate between the upper and lower limits of 276ft. and 254ft. - 14,497 long tons of cargo were shipped between the Akosombo and Yapei sector of the Lake in 1976 (figure does not include shipments for December 1976). This was 71% of total cargo shipments for that year. - Excluding December for that year, 5962 passenger departures and 5860 arrivals were recorded for Akosombo for 1976. - Currently it costs ¢125.8¹ to move one ton of cargo from Tema to Tamale by road while the cost per ton for the same origin and destination by the combination of lake and road is ¢50.9². - The impassable access road to the Akosombo port is partly responsible for the downward development of VLT cargo transport. - The limited capacity of the present two cargo boats and one passenger vessel cannot cope with the demand for Lake Transport and VLTC operations are characterized by a continuous excess demand over capacity. Visits to Akosombo and Yapei gave the opportunity of observing the actual running of the ports and discussions with port officials and some passengers (all were accompanying cargo) revealed some of the problems facing VLTC and VLTS users. The following officially commissioned feasibility reports, among other material, were necessary reading to support the personal impressions and opinions obtained through own investigations and interviews. (i) L. Volta Transport System, Kaiser Engineers Inc. (1964) (ii) Volta Lake Transport System, CEKOP of Poland (1966) (iii) Volta Lake Transport System, Volta Joint Venture – Ostenfeld (1969) (iv) Volta Lake Transport System, GOPA -BVC-RODECO (1977). These and other sources of published material helped establish the technical requirements and statistics for the design of the port at Akosombo. Types of vessels, landings and docks to go with them were also obtained from these and various other sources.
A report on the design Thesis presented to the Faculty of Architecture, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, as part of the requirements for the Post-graduate Diploma in Architecture, 1978