Industry lauds paperless port system

The industrial sector has lauded the improved clearance processes at the Tema and Takoradi ports occasioned by the Paperless Port Clearance System, which have ensured that raw materials are available at the right time for production.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), in its annual report released to the media, said the ongoing reforms have helped reduce the cost and time of port transactions.

“Reducing the number of regulatory bodies at our ports to three is laudable, as this will help reduce the cost and time of port transactions”, the AGI said.

The Association commended government for instituting the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation measures and reforms at the port to ease the cost doing business.

“It is our expectation that the joint committee of the GRA and AGI will help check under-declaration, under-invoicing, and continue in order to block all revenue leakages.”

Dr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi, a former President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), in an earlier interview said: “As a shipper, and based on the transactional records from the clearance of goods from the ports to my factories, it is obvious to me that there has been a considerable improvement in the clearance process”.

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Given the importance of the ports, Dr. Oteng-Gyasi – who is currently the Managing Director and Chairman of Tropical Cables and Conductors Limited, called for continuous improvement to perfect the existing system.

“The question now is how we can improve the system continuously – because for a nation that is seeking rapid growth anchored on agro-processing, manufacturing etc., the port remains very critical and its efficiency cannot in any way be undermined,” he said.

The Paperless Port project, which commenced on September1, 2017 at the Tema and Takoradi ports, has among others reduced the release timelines for documents. Again, the system has reduced high container turn-around due to a reduction in examination agencies – which has also reduced demurrage payments.

The average dwell-time of containers – how long it takes for a container to be picked up at the terminal after being unloaded from a vessel – has also come down to 11 days, from 16 to 22 days previously.

Other improvements include: the reduction in security checkpoints from 4 to 2; reduction in cost -there is no upfront charging of partial unstuffing – unless the activity is undertaken in the field.

Also, shipping lines/agents are now able to submit manifests five days prior to vessel arrival instead of the previous three days; a procedure that allows enough time for Customs to undertake risk management and other internal or background processes.

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