Ghana Ports to rollout maritime single window initiative in April

Stakeholders engaged in a meeting on the Maritime Single Window program

Plans are far advanced for the rollout of the maritime single window program intended to facilitate vessel clearance at Ghana’s ports.

The digital platform will incorporate the activities of shipping lines and regulatory agencies and enable them share information so far as the clearance of vessels at the port is concerned.

This is in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s Annex to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention which makes the single window for data exchange mandatory in ports around the world.

Ahead of the proposed phased implementation of the maritime single window in April, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has led a series of engagements for the parties involved to help them understand how the platform works and prepare for its rollout.

This includes the various Shipping Agents, Customs, Port Health, Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Immigration Service, Narcotics Control Commission among others.

The Corporate IT Manager at GPHA, Francis Donkor highlighted the service offerings of this platform, distinct from the Integrated Customs Management System used for cargo clearance.

“Maritime single window really is about the vessel clearance, it’s not focusing on cargo which the other single window actually focuses on, this is about vessel. Before the vessel comes to our waters, it ought to be cleared. Before the vessel even docks at our ports, it ought to be cleared. Before we even start working on the vessel, that vessel have to be cleared by certain authorities. So we are building a platform that will enable all the stakeholders be it the shipping agents, the regulatory authorities, to share information and share files. That really is going to facilitate the maritime trade in Ghana.”

Representatives of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and Ghana Maritime Authority indicated their preparedness ahead of the implementation of the vessel clearance system.

“The turnaround time of vessels is crucial to trade facilitation and therefore if IMO is pushing any of such initiatives to enhance early clearance of vessels or smooth clearance of vessels, Customs is more than ready, in fact we are happy because it makes our work easier” an Assistant Revenue Officer at the Boarding Unit of the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority, Seth Toku-Dum stated.

“With the coming of the single window system, Ghana Maritime is very excited because the International Maritime Organization has approved this and it is working already from January 2024. As Ghana Maritime Authority is the government agency that represents the country at such meetings, we will be very much excited to tell the story of Ghana that we are also ready and applying the maritime single window in our vessel clearance” the Principal Planning Officer at GMA, Lydia Odai-Tettey added.

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