Business News of Saturday, 14 March 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The Ministry of Transport in collaboration with the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) is embarking on a series of stakeholder education as a prelude to the implementation of the Advanced Shipment Information System (ASHI) next month.
The ASHI is an electronic platform by which relevant shipment information is received in advance of a vessel’s arrival in the country’s territorial waters to facilitate pre-arrival clearance processes.
Promoters of the system are sure the system would help minimise the turn-around time for clearing cargo at the port by reducing delays, demurrage and rent charges, but business groups in the country have opposed its implementation.
This has resulted in its postponement by the Transport Ministry to April 3, by which time people would have been sensitised enough to the operations of the system.
The Transport Minister, Mrs Dzifa Aku Attivor, explained that the education had become necessary because stakeholders, upon consultation, explained that their members were not well-informed about the dynamics of the system and how it operated.
She made this known when a delegation from the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC), led by its Secretary General, Mr Adamou Saley Abdourahamane, paid a courtesy call on her in Accra.
“We met the stakeholders and they lamented that their members are not well informed, for that reason, we issued a release to postpone the implementation till next month, within which time we think we will be able to educate them to be comfortable with the implementation of ASHI,” she explained further.
The sector minister said the security aspect of the system should be of concern to all as that could serve as a channel through which all manner of goods and services could be shipped into the country.
The implementation of ASHI is an old recommendation adopted by the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) comprising 17 West and Central African states.
Mr Abdourahamane said it was imperative for all member countries of the union to implement the system in their respective countries.
Earlier, industry operators sought to stage a protest over the implementation of the ASHI in the country due to the extra operational cost they would incur.
The strike, which was later called off, was at the instance of representatives from the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana Automobile Dealers Association (GADA), Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) among other bodies.