Players in Ghana’s ports and maritime industry have stated that the current restrictions due to the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus present an opportunity for the industry to deepen its paperless systems in the port clearance chain.
“I think this has been a big lesson for all of us. Hitherto, we always want to work on-site. It has given us the test of time to be able to look at how we can polish our paperless systems,” Garvin Amarvie, the Corporate Monitoring Manager of GPHA said.
“This is a very good time for us to deepen the paperless process and we have to review our processes also,” Adam Imoru Ayarna, a Council Member of the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana added.
Speaking on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on the Effects of the Temporary Restrictions on Port Clearance Operations in Ghana, representatives of the key agencies in Ghana’s port clearance chain including the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Customs Division of GRA, the Association of Customs House Agents of Ghana, and the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, all acknowledged the value of having a paperless system in the port and outlined how their various outfits are currently making use of electronic platforms in their transactions and operations.
“Paperless is more important to us even now than ever. It has been very useful. You can easily sit in the comfort of your home and do the processes,” Yaw Kyei, President of ACHAG indicated.
“When the paperless process started we took it quite seriously. Prior to that, we had a few of our activities on the e-platforms. To the best of the ability of the shipping lines, we have continued with that skeleton style,” Adam Imoru Ayarna, SOAAG disclosed.
The industry players, however, did not fail to concede that there has been a general reduction in cargo volumes in the first quarter of the year citing the coronavirus pandemic, a major factor.
“The numbers are okay. But let me say that even prior to the lockdown the shipping lines had been generally hit. Also, you have to note that the Chinese new year. Cargo volumes from Asia are down. We won’t say the volumes from Europe are what we expect. They have dropped, but they are okay,” the SOAAG rep revealed.