OUR PERSPECTIVE ON PORT EFFICIENCY
Ports are no longer regarded as only the nodes that ships and goods are handled, but within the uncertain and highly volatile maritime industry they become economic competitive areas for all port stakeholders.
By the effects of globalization and technological developments, ports as the interchange points between different modes of transport are forced to increase efficiency and sustain their competitive edges.
Coming into Equity…
Your Excellency, we admit we have not had very great rave reviews as an entity but we believe that man is inherently good and that it is systems or the non availability of it that fosters the deviant.
It is with this spirit that we of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders have embraced wholly this call to engage for redress.
We therefore hope this will be the beginning of a very fruitful introspection into our sub-sector so we can properly leverage for National Development.
- Migraines with Automation Efforts (Technology)
Solutions which have been delivered today still have a lot of human intervention and this allows for a lot of discretion. This is where the problem is, because this allows the ‘system’ to choose and pick which solution to give who is on the most ‘favored list’.
Why should two traders buying from the same source, on the same conveyance be handed two contrasting outcomes?
This does not bode well for COMPLIANCE!
- Systems Integration
There are two major IT Solution providers ie. WESTBLUE and GCNET. The fact that they have two different terms of references normed under different conditions delivers a problem.
The mandate of Westblue Consulting is from the Finance Ministry through the GRA, whiles that of GCNET, is with the Trade Ministry.
The Government of Ghana is the ultimate client but the truth of the matter is that there is always tension between the two anytime they must cooperate to deliver a seamless solution for the larger course. Why so? Compromising to deliver that integration has the element of rendering one of them redundant on certain fronts.
A case in point was when the IDF module had to be plucked off the GCNET platform unto the Ghana’s Trading Hub (PAARS). Another classic case is the call of Manifests onto the PAARS platform creating anxiety within GCNET who used to house the manifests.
The two scenarios above “justifies” the turf war because one can only survive if their bargaining chips are intact, but whiles they are at it, trade facilitation as well as port efficiency suffers with its attendant cost!
One wants to ask the locus of the National Trade Facilitation Committee in all of these.
- Proliferation of Organizations in the Ports
The proliferation of our ports by several organizations and MDAs has been a great source of worry.
Creates serious delays and also increases cost
The issue of Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) is at the core of this worry.
Of more worry is that their fees are derived from the laws that set them
- Port Environment
The open space under which customs intrusive examinations are conducted is not conducive, to say the least for doing business.
These examinations are exposed to the vagaries of the weather. When it rains it destroys unstuffed cargo and stalls the process.
Apart from the cost that it occasions to the trader, the stalled process is not discounted to the Act of God. The Trader still pays. Efficiency?
When the sun is up the health hazards are unfathomable.
A Throw Back…
Customs have ever performed agency duties in the past. Most of these agencies have taken over these duties but interestingly, Customs still holds on to some of these roles they used to perform.
A case in point ref. fig1 is why after dealing with all these agencies ie. EPA, GSA, ATOMIC, FDA, one will still have to end up with the Customs Chemist.
This is a pure case of duplication. Customs will have to consider this role which is extremely time consuming and concentrate on other core functions to facilitate trade.
We hate to contend forever with these folks, for this reason we call for a forum umpired by an authority other than only the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Ghana Shippers Authority because by arrangement, they earn a substantial amount of their keep from the operations of the shipping lines thus the potential difficulty they would be faced with in umpiring such arbitration.
Their operating times do not augur well for business and smacks of rent-seeking to say the least. Shipping lines offer a standard 7 demurrage free days in Ghana.
Interestingly, they do not work on weekends and statutory holidays which automatically cut’s the demurrage free days to 5 in the case of weekends and 5+x number of days in the case of holidays.
…Through The Use of Technology
NOTIONS Will be DISPELLED;
STRONGHOLDS Shall be NEUTRALIZED;
REVENUE Shall be OPTIMALLY MOBILIZED;
…and we as a People Shall see TRUE DEVELOPMENT.
Click to find out more about the "Reforms to elimiate bureaucratic procedures in trade" in the Graphic.