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Freight forwarders budge to paperless ports

Kwabena Ofosu Appiah - President, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders
Kwabena Ofosu Appiah - President, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders

Freight Forwarders are anticipating a smooth implementation of the paperless clearing process at the ports should all systems of the various agencies operate seamlessly.

The businesses believe their concerns should be laid to rest if the assurances by the relevant authorities are duly complied with.

The comments come on the back of the implementation of the paperless clearing system at the ports.

The exercise commenced on Saturday, 2nd September, 2017 per the directive of the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

Speaking to Citi Business News on his initial assessment of the process, the President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah said his outfit is hopeful of the smooth take off at least within the first few weeks.

“If the platforms are good to go, that is the Customs systems which is being powered by West Blue and that of GCNet, plus the GPHA system that receives payments among others are all good to go, at least for now that we are expecting to start the process with Tema, whatever hiccups that could come up and it has to do with operations, then it could be quickly resolved.”

“But if it has to be a systems, network or internet connectivity breakdown, that is where the conversation going forward will be forged because we wouldn’t be able to place in context who is not working,” he remarked.

The freight forwarders have among others lamented the intermittent systems breakdown in the operations of the clearing institutions such as West Blue, GCNet and the GPHA.

In their view, the technical challenges if unresolved, is likely to hamper the smooth roll out of the paperless transaction.

In addition, Mr. Ofosu Appiah stated that the pick-up of activities from Monday may determine the level of compliance or otherwise of the new clearing system.

“From whatever I have heard over the weekend, I have been assured that everybody who matters is at post to ensure that all backlogs have been cleared. But all these conversations will be given meaning when the process also starts from Monday when our members will be going on live and putting everything to work in terms of clearing at the ports,” he again asserted.

New paperless to operate vis-à-vis old clearing system

Meanwhile Citi Business News understands that the former clearing system will be rolled out in conjunction with the new paperless system at least for the next few months.

According to authorities, all imports processed prior to the implementation of the paperless regime will be cleared under the former process while new imports will be cleared using the paperless system.

The gradual phasing out of the old clearing out of the old process, Citi Business News gathers is also part of efforts to reduce the apprehension among businesses.

By: Pius Amihere Eduku/

Citi Business News