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GPHA holds engagements towards maritime single window programme implementation

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has held a series of engagements with stakeholders to prepare them for phase one of the implementation of the maritime single window programme in April.

The shipping agents, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Port Health, Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Ghana Immigration Service, and the Narcotic Control Commission engaged in discussions aimed at helping them to understand how the platform worked and prepare them for its implementation.

The maritime single window programme is a digital platform intended to facilitate vessel clearance at Ghana’s ports through the incorporation of the activities of shipping lines and regulatory agencies to share information on the clearance of vessels.

The platform is in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s Annex to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention, which makes the single window for data exchange mandatory in ports around the world.

Mr Francis Donkor, the Corporate IT Manager, at GPHA, said th
e services that would be offered on the platform were distinct from the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), currently being used for cargo clearance.

Mr Donkor explained that the maritime single window was about vessel clearance, while the ICUMS focused on cargo, saying before the vessel came to Ghana’s waters, it must be cleared.

‘Before the vessel even docks at our ports, it ought to be cleared, so we are building a platform that will enable all the stakeholders, be it the shipping agents or the regulatory authorities, to share information and share files and that is going to facilitate the maritime trade in Ghana,’ he added.

Representatives of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Maritime Authority pledged their preparedness ahead of the implementation of the vessel clearance system.

Mr Seth Toku-Dum, an Assistant Revenue Officer at the Boarding Unit of Customs, said the turnaround time of vessels was crucial to trade facilitation, therefore, if IMO was pushing fo
r initiatives to enhance early clearance of vessels, Customs was more than ready, as it would make its work easier.

Ms Lydia Odai-Tettey, the Principal Planning Officer at the Ghana Maritime Authority, said the Authority was excited about the maritime single window, stating that the IMO had approved it.

It would be very excited to tell Ghana’s story and pledged its readiness in applying the maritime single window in its vessel clearance.

Source: Ghana News Agency