Monrovia — The Free Port of Monrovia was constructed by the United States Military in 1948 for strategic reasons and managed by a private firm.
After years of private management, it was turned over to the Government of Liberia in 1967 and it has been run and operated by the Government of Liberia.
Since then the road network and infrastructure in the port have been challenging for businesses. With support from the Government of Liberia, a 2.6 kilometre road has been constructed and dedicated.
According to the NPA Managing Director, Mr. David Williams, the project was totally financed from the NPA coffers without taking on any debt.
The project, according to Williams, also is not only intended to modernize the Freeport of Monrovia, but to primarily improve traffic flow, reduce traffic hazard and improve general safety for all port users thereby enhancing throughout and truly serving as the gateway to the economy.
Williams said: "Madam President today is a proud moment for all of us as we accomplish yet another project under the Government's Agenda for Transformation, particularly under its infrastructure pillar."
"The dedication of the rigid pavement, sidewalks, drainages, and street lights, which fell into state of despair for over three decades, is a true demonstration of our collective commitment to infrastructure improvement in the sector."
"Over the two years we have served, we moved the Freeport of Monrovia from a 12-hour operation to a 24-hour operation when we procured and installed Aids to Navigation."
"We dredged the Freeport of Monrovia -the entrance channel and the basin to the deepest in the history of the port to 13 meters, enabling larger vessels to dock at Freeport thereby reducing the cost of doing business."
As part of the dedication, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf also dedicated the APM Terminals Concession phase two project, which includes the construction of the APM Terminals new corporate headquarters, extension of the container yard and the new entrance and exit gate.
Similarly, Conex Petroleum Group, a 100 percent Liberian-owned business, collaborated with NPA and LPRC to complete Conex Petroleum storage.
The project will help Government meets the petroleum product storage need of the country.
Naming projects completed at various ports in Liberia, the NPA MD disclosed that the Port of Buchanan is also operating on a 24-hour basis with support and collaboration from ArcelorMittal Liberia, while rehabilitation works are on-going at the Port of Greenville.
"In collaboration with our management team, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) has completed the construction of a bulking station and is now running the pipelines to export crude palm oil (CPO)."
In addition Williams said, with respect to the Kuwaiti loan for the rehabilitation of the Port of Greenville, four marine crafts (two tug boats, one pilot boat and one patrol boat) have been procured and delivered.
In her dedicatory remarks, the Liberian leader recalled in 2006, when her government took over, how bad the situation was with the Freeport, including its infrastructure.
According to the President, the situation at the Freeport of Monrovia, specifically when the peer was appalling and the government needed the intervention of the private sector.
"We had no means of fixing it recognizing that if it had falling into the water, we would have had no means in rebuilding our country that is why we had private sector involved and so APM Terminals came in.
"Our country has come a long way in every endeavour we have undertaken.
There are challenges no doubt but development takes a long time.
It takes dedication, commitment and hard work and the only ones who are to develop their country are the nationals. Unless they take responsibility, the country will never achieve its goals."