General News of Wednesday, 4 December 2019
The Meridian Port Services (MPS) Limited has denied that it charges fees for no work done at Terminal Three of the Tema Port.
Rather, it explained that although consignees were required to pay for their containers labelled ‘red’, their money was refunded once the containers were not opened or the unstuffing did not confirm the suspicions of the National Integrated Risk Management System (NIRMS) for an Intrusive Inspection.
It said the opening and unstuffing of consignments labeled ‘red’ were standard procedures at the Tema Port.
In a statement to react to a front page publication in the November 28 edition of the Daily Graphic which indicated that the MPS was charging fees for no work done, the company said: “MPS wishes to assure all its esteemed customers that at no point are fees charged for services not rendered.”
The statement explained the processes involved in the upfront payment for services at the Intrusive Inspection Platform, indicating that they started with a consignee submitting all declarations to Customs once the commercial documents become available, using the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS).
“Customs will risk-assess the declaration via the NIRMS and issue a Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) with the risk level.
“Containers may have to be physically opened and inspected under the supervision of the cross-border agencies (Customs, the Food & Drugs Authority, the Ghana Standards Authority, the Narcotics Control Board, the National Security) at the Intrusive Inspection Platform based on the category to which they belong.
“All containers in the ‘red’ channel category are pre-determined by the NIRMS to be physically inspected at the Customs Inspection Platform. Because the Red Channel Containers are pre-determined to be physically inspected, their consignees are required to make upfront payments for their inspection,” it explained.
The statement stressed that that was the standard procedure, adding that if for any reason the cross-border agencies responsible for overseeing the inspection believed that any Red Category container should not be inspected, then the officer responsible was required to document the waiver of inspection.
Refund to consignees
It noted that that process was to ensure traceability of all transactions during an audit.
Containers placed in the Green Channel category were scanned and allowed to depart the port immediately, it said.
“Because these containers are not supposed to be inspected at the Intrusive Inspection Platform, consignees are not required or requested to make any payment for inspection of this category of cargo.
“Consignees of containers placed in the Yellow Channel category are not required or requested to make any upfront payment prior to scanning. When the Yellow Channel Containers are scanned and the verdict shows any identified discrepancies with the manifest, then there is deemed to be an anomaly.
“In such cases, the Yellow Channel container is required to be inspected. The payment for the services at the Customs Inspection Platform is required to be made,” it indicated.
However, it explained that when the Yellow Channel category container was scanned and there was no anomaly in the verdict of the scanned image, the container was allowed to exit T3 without further inspection, neither was the consignee required to make any payment for intrusive inspection.
Commitment to facilitate trade
The statement emphasised the MPS’s commitment to professionally facilitate the growth in trade and also provide the technological infrastructure to safeguard state revenue.
“We wish to reiterate that the MPS is committed to facilitating trade growth, while at the same time providing the state apparatus with the technological infrastructure to enable it to safeguard state revenue and border security.
“It is, therefore, unfair for the said allegations to be made against the MPS without any basis and detract the