Kweku Ofori Asiamah, Minister of Transport
Transport sector advocacy institute, Centre for Transport Security Dialogue (CETSED), has called on government to investigate processes that led to the selection of Amaris Terminal Limited as the sole authorised service provider to scan and pre-examine export consignments apart from Export Exempted Commodities (EEC) at the Tema Port.
CETSED, in release signed by its Public Prelations Officer, Kojo S.A. Danquah, said “the GPHA-Amaris terminal deal is an attempt to create near monopoly, making the other terminals loose market, creating unemployment and taking competition out of export terminal operations at the port of Tema.”
The partnership between GPHA and one of the many export container terminals is grossly unfair, it said.
A section of a letter from GPHA dated 11 August, 2016, with reference number DC/HQ/C.3/V.3/121 signed by the immediate-past Director-General of GPHA, Richard Anamoo, and copied to the Ship-owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and the Sector Commander of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Managing Director of Amaris Terminal, informed key terminal operators about the new directive.
It stated that “in compliance with the requirement of National Security for due diligence to be conducted on all export containers prior to shipment, all loaded export containers, other than EEC, intended for shipment at Tema Port (MPS/or Terminal One) shall first be scanned or pre-examined, as may be directed by the Ghana Customs at the Amaris Terminals before delivery to any of the port terminals.”
“By this arrangement, the exporter will first have to scan and weigh his/her consignment at Amaris Terminal before moving the container to other port terminals, where applicable handling charges will still apply.”
CETSED questioned why the regulator of the ports, GPHA, which is supposed to supervise the export trade activities, partnered an export consolidator at the expense of other firms engaged in a similar business.
“How can a regulator of a specific organisation be a key partner to a company that is into the very industry it is regulating?
GPHA-Amaris Terminal deal does not provide a level playing field for all export terminal operators within the port community to invest in upgrading their facilities to meet the required standards which will create competition among the terminals to improve efficiency.”
CETSED therefore called for the abrogation of the GPHA – Amaris terminal deal.
Explaining further, it said GPHA should task terminals to make provision for customs and National Security in terms of office facilities and other logistics.
But Managing Director of Amaris Terminal Limited, Attakorah, has told BUSINESS GUIDE that the allegations by CETSED were unfounded.
“The GPHA directive was in line with a request from GRA-Customs to have a dedicated terminal for exports to make it easier and efficient for their officers to monitor and examine containers,” he said, adding that “this, I believe, was also to solve the current challenge of officers moving from one loading area to another.”
By Melvin Tarlue