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Business News of Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Source: EOP

Joint Customs Consultative Committee holds forum to discuss pertinent issues in maritime industry

The Joint Customs Consultative Committee has held a forum to discuss issues affecting trade and the maritime industry.

Such engagements are used to assess performances of stakeholders, deliberate on issues, find workable solutions to pertinent issues in achieving the common goal of trade facilitation through simplification of procedures and processes.

The Committee, constitutes stakeholders from the maritime industry, including Customs, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, freight forwarders, IT service providers like West Blue consulting and GCNet among others.

Speaking on the operational requirements at the new Terminal 3 of the expanded Tema Port, the Operations Manager for MPS, Emmanuel Ohene Addo revealed a successful test run has been conducted at the terminal 3 and on 28th June 2019, the new terminal will officially be opened.

“We are expected to go live with the first commercial vessel on the 1st of July 2019. So, we have to also start getting in the export boxes by 24th of June,” the MPS Operations Manager added.

He assured stakeholders of efficient service delivery at the terminal.

“The main focus of this terminal is to make it very efficient. And with our stakeholders, we, together have to make this terminal not just the best in Africa, but compete with the best in the world. And we are bringing in the latest technology to aid this vision.”

Organizations like the GPHA, GIFF, GSA, FDA and Customs spoke about their preparations towards moving to the new expanded Tema Port called MPS Terminal 3.

“We are fully prepared, we are waiting to go live,” John Mantey, a technical committee member of GIFF said.

“The GSA has participated in all preliminary meetings and we have toured the facility and we have been assigned an office,” a Ghana Standards Authority official added.

“We have all been talking about trade facilitation at the new terminal, the Food and Drugs Authority is committed to that. We don’t want to unnecessarily be holding containers,” the Principal Regulatory Officer of FDA, Jacob Amoako Mensah expressed.

“We have the responsibility to keep the port running as it supposed to create the enabling environment. To make sure per ISPS code, the port is safe and make sure cargo is safe. Customs also has that due responsibility to make sure revenue is well secured; that through their work, cargo is secured and revenue is not lost. The two of us would have to collaborate to ensure we run the port efficiently,” Garvin Amarvie, Corporate Monitoring and Control Manager, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority implored.

The organizations also touched on how they intend to replicate the paperless port system and also conduct joint examinations at the new terminal.

“We have increased our inspectors to about 42 who are ready to run the 24 hours shift. The team that will take the test will always be available at the terminal. So we are fully ready to take up the challenge,” the GSA official updated.

“With the new terminal, importers would not have to move to our office to take the detention notice. This would be done in real time,” the FDA official also added.

The technical service providers also assured to give off their best towards ensuring that the new terminal operates efficiently.

“From West blue, we want to assure you that we are doing everything we need to do to ensure the experience at the new terminal is awesome,” a West Blue official said.

“GC-Net is ready and will give the port the support it needs to be efficient,” a GC-Net official also assured.

The Tema Customs Commander of the Customs division of GRA, Dr. Okoh-Appiah who chaired the event, called on all stakeholders to eschew old and negative practices but instead exhibit high sense of integrity at the new terminal 3, which is the expanded part of the Port of Tema.

“As we migrate to the new facility, everything must be new. Our motive should be efficiency and integrity. Let’s communicate to our subordinates that we are moving there with new attitude,” he beseeched.