Monrovia — Over the past year, the Houston Sister City Committee has made great strides in facilitating a Houston-Monrovia Sister City relationship that will help strengthen trade and economic development between the two port cities.
On December 6-9, 2021, under the leadership of Mr. Val Thompson, President of the Houston International Trade Development Council, and Honorable Cynthia L. Blandford, Honorary Consul Republic of Liberia in Georgia, were privileged to host a delegation of four experts from the National Port Authority (NPA) of Liberia, in Houston, TX, to further trade and economic development discussions between the Port of Houston and the NPA.
Bill Twehway, Managing Director of the NPA, lead member of the delegation, was keen to point out that Liberia is Open for Business and in particular, pointed out that the NPA has four ports, including the Freeport of Monrovia, the Port of Buchanan, the Port of Greenville, and the Port of Harper, where the Freeport of Monrovia is the largest and main Port.
The NPA is an economic engine that produces jobs and economic prosperity for the country as well as facilitates commerce, navigation and safe waterways promoting sustainable trade. The NPA also serves as the maritime gateway to Liberia.
Twehway said, “We want to encourage investors to come to Liberia to become concessionaires at the Buchanan, Greenville, or Harper Ports. The Freeport is under a concession agreement with APM Terminals, and we welcome others to participate in port management and development to help build our strategic vision to become a premier port authority in the West African Region and to help bring the Ports to international standards.” Mr. Twehway also noted that the Nation’s first Inland Port, proposed to be constructed in Nimba County, will generate increased revenue and stronger opportunities particularly in North and Southeastern Liberia as well as in bordering Guinea and Ivory Coast.
The delegation also had a strategic meeting with some officials of the Port of Houston, including Mr. John Moseley, Chief Commercial Officer and Mr. Dominic Sun, Director of Trade Development to explore opportunities to work together.
It can be recalled that the NPA and Port Houston signed a Sister Port Agreement several years ago and the both entities wish to review and re-sign the Agreement so as to increase trade, share best practices, provide technical support, capacity building and training, in particular. The new signing ceremony of Sisterly Port Agreement, virtual or in-person, is slated for the first quarter of 2022.
Mr. Moseley was quick to point out that Port Houston is the largest port on the Gulf Coast and the biggest port in Texas and that the Port of Houston has been instrumental in the city of Houston’s development for international trade. It is home to a multi-billion petrochemical complex, the largest in the nation and second largest in the world. Mr. Moseley noted that “Africa is a vast Continent with vast resources that the United States should explore for collaboration and increased trade and commerce.”
The Liberian delegation on separate occasions, met with the Houston Sister Cities Committee and also with the Liberian Community in Katie, Texas.
The NPA’s delegation, headed by Hon. Dr. Bill Twehway, included Mr. Sekou B. Korleh, Executive Director for Governmental & International Affairs, Ms. Annett Sema Nebo, Finance Manager and Ms. Stella F. Nyankun, Supervisor of Monitoring and Evaluation. Honorable Meanwhile, Mr. Bill Twehway extended an official invitation to Port Houston officials to visit Liberia during the Houston-Atlanta Trade Mission scheduled for April 21-29, 2022.
The National Port Authority (NPA)
The Freeport of Monrovia is a landlord port that has concessions partnerships with APM Terminals, and other lease agreements with Firestone, China Union, and Western Cluster. The Freeport of Monrovia was built originally by the United States Military for strategic purposes during World War II.
For more than 100 years, Port Houston has owned and operated the public wharves and terminals along the Houston Ship Channel, including the area’s largest breakbulk facility and two of the most efficient container terminals in the country. The Port of Houston supports the creation of nearly 1.35 million jobs in Texas and 3.2 million jobs nationwide, and economic activity totaling $339 billion in Texas – 20 percent of Texas’ total gross domestic product (GDP) – and $801.9 billion in economic impact across the nation.