Consignees Must Give Accurate Information for Paperless System

Accra, Ms Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manager for Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, says the nation’s single window system will only work if consignees commit to giving accurate information on their consignments.

She said the various systems that would be working in the window should trust each other in order for the system to work.

She was speaking to a delegation of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), who paid a visit to the Tema Port to engage officials on a study done by the Chamber.

Ms. Gyebi-Donkor explained that inaccurate information on the manifest, part of consignees, would mean that Customs and other agencies at the Port would have to perform physical examinations of consignments; which would perpetuate the challenge of delays that the single window was meant to address.

The system will not be successful if a lot more containers have to be physically examined. We have to trust each other so that most boxes can be allowed to go out without physical examination.

She took the delegation through changes made by the port authority in line with the directive by the Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to improve efficiency at the port and to ensure mandatory joint inspections where necessary, and in preparation for the commencement of the paperless transactions in September, 2017.

The directive, she noted, was in line in with the GPHA’s own initiatives meant to increase efficiency at the ports.

Briefing the delegation on progress made towards the paperless system, Ms Gyebi- Donkor said the new system, when implemented in September, would see users of the port who receive consignments using the GCNET and the West Blue online platforms to perform the tasks that they currently do manually at the Revenue Centre of the port, from the comfort of their offices or homes.

These include checking whether the container is in the possession of the GPHA and whether the Delivery Order (DO) had been issued by the shipping lines, to allow them clear the container.

They could also receive an invoice and then queue at the two banks at the Revenue Centre to effect payments, and then deposit request (DO) to indicate that they will take deliver the next day.

Effective September, all these will be done via the GCNET Window, using the Port’s issued Biometric ID cards. Consignees will also be able to receive their invoice via an automatic billing system that will be put in the window, and can pay at the branches of ADB, GCB and Ecobank.

She noted that more banks would be added to the platform subsequently but only the three would be covered at the start of the project in September. Customers can also pay online via mobile money.

Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, President of the GNCCI, said the Chamber, with the BUSAC Fund, had undertaken a study on the three main sea ports in response to concerns raised about the difficulty of doing business there.

Challenges identified in the study include long container dwell times at the two main ports, with Takoradi having a dwell time of 25 days and Tema 20 days.

These, he said compared unfavourably to dwell times in the comparator Ports like Durban-four days, Mombasa-11 days, Dar El salaam-14 days and Lome-18 days.

Others are high charges due to multiplicity of institutions, and the payment of port rent charges.

While lauding the Paperless system to be implemented in September, he called for increased sensitisation on the issue to get all stakeholders on board.

He said transparency in the process was important and urged the GPHA to ensure everyone was on the same platform.

He also stressed the need for collaboration with their stakeholders to promote trade facilitation as private sector players, especially those who took loans to clear their goods, depended on efficiency at the Ports to successfully build their businesses.

Mr Edward Osei, Director of Ports at the GPHA, who welcomed the delegation, assured them that GPHA was doing everything in preparation for the paperless system.

Source: Ghana News Agency

   

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