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Business News of Friday, 12 June 2015


Move inspection agencies from our ports – GSA

The Head of Public Relations of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Mr Fred Asiedu-Dartey, has said the time has come for stakeholders in the maritime industry to come together to find a lasting solution to the issue of congestion at the country’s ports.

He said the ports could only be decongested when inspection agencies and their activities were moved from the port to allow easy flow of traffic.

Mr Asiedu-Dartey was speaking at the maiden edition of the meet the government series organised by the Ghanaian-German Economic Association (GGEA) in Accra. “The issues at the port cannot be resolved by expanding the facilities at the port,” he said, adding that a number of factors needed to be looked at.

He raised concerns about the issue of demurrage for instance, saying: “Importers are paying US$75 million on demurrage and GH¢30 million annually to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), which is a major issue affecting the maritime industry.”

Mr Asiedu-Dartey, who was speaking on the theme: “Challenges in clearing goods from the ports,” said the ports in the country were losing the competitive advantage within the sub-region as a result of high demurrage charges. Advance shipment

According to the Head of Public Relations, access to shipment information by shippers to begin the pre-arrival of clearance processes would help reduce the payment of excessive demurrage and rent charges.

This will help provide critical and timely information to Customs and other key stakeholders for the performance of risk analysis on imported cargo, prior to their arrival.

He noted that the system had been tried and tested for years in the aviation industry without any challenge of goods being delayed or congestion at the airports.

The Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager of GPHA, Mr Nikoi Amasa, however, indicated that his outfit was in the process of expanding the Tema port to help control the delay in procedures there.

“This major development agenda for the port is borne out of GPHA’s sustained effort to keep up the pace of development and expansion of its ports ahead of the rapid population which amounts to delay and therefore congestion at the ports,” he said.

Aside from improving business at the port, the expansion works were expected to translate into more job opportunities for Ghanaians, including stevedoring jobs, and more jobs for agents and various stakeholders engaged in the sea-trade industry.

Phases two, three and four of the expansion works will add more container terminals and fruit terminals to the cluster, while the final phase will involve the construction of an oil and gas terminal and oil rig servicing facility to target the burgeoning oil industry along the West African coast.