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Shippers' Council inaugurates ICT centre
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Business News of Saturday, 30 September 2006

Source: GNA

Shippers' Council inaugurates ICT centre

Takoradi, Sept. 30, GNA - The Ghana Shippers' Council (GSC) has opened a state-of-the-art information centre at its Takoradi Shippers' Centre to provide members access to broadband Internet service, online information and links to related private and public agencies. The multi-million-cedi facility would also provide shippers with information on various transport portals through which their businesses could be undertaken to enhance efficiency and cost effectiveness. The centre, equipped with modern ICT equipment, is the first in a series being provided by the GSC. There will be others at Tema and Boankra, near Kumasi.

Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister of Harbours and Railways inaugurated the facility on Friday.

He commended the GSC for the initiative, saying it would contribute positively to the development of business in the maritime sector and that it falls under government's plan to encourage the use of ICT to enhance business processes and procedures to achieve efficiency. The Minister urged the Council to train shippers on the use of the ICT centre to enable them derive the optimum benefit.

Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi expressed the hope that in a near future the shippers' centre would build linkages with other institutions in the sector such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service and the Ghana Community Network Ltd (GC-Net).

Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi disclosed that a foreign company would soon begin the building of a second Port in Takoradi, and when this happens the city would become the preferred port of destination for many ships, thereby overtaking Tema as the hub of the maritime industry. The Minister warned against negative business practices such as over-invoicing and under-invoicing of goods or services, adding that these practices had contributed to continued decrease in tax inflows to the country.

Mr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive of the GSC said the provision of the ICT centre was in recognition of the needs of shippers by the Council and its unrelenting efforts at addressing them.

He said in view of the competitiveness in the global economy, the use of ICT platforms to process registration and licensing should be made mandatory to encourage business people to become ICT compliant. The Takoradi centre houses a reading room and also displays information on freight rates, vessel movements for Tema and Takoradi, as well as, shipping statistics and information on the GSC.

Mr Mbiah expressed the hope that importers and exporters in Takoradi would patronise the facility and that it would launch them into the new realm of international business practices and enhance their competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Mr Anthony Evans Amoah, Western Regional Minister, said the selection of Takoradi as the first beneficiary of the facility was the affirmation that "the best comes from the west".

He commended the GSC for the initiative to support Government's efforts at revamping the maritime industry.

The Regional Minister gave the assurance that the Regional Coordinating Council would support the GSC's bid to acquire the property of the defunct Dalebrook Company, for conversion into a modern fleet management park and warehouse.

Mr Amoah expressed the hope that when completed, the park could help to decongest the metropolis of haphazard parking of articulated trucks waiting to be offloaded.

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