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Congestion At The Ports To Minimize As Advanced Shipment Information Takes Off   
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Dr Kofi Mbiah
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Congestion at the various Ports will soon be a thing of the past as the Advanced Shipment Information (ASHI) system takes off in March 2015, the Ghana Shippers’ Authority has revealed.

The ASHI is an electronic platform by which shippers or importers will receive pre-arrival information of their cargo(es) for planning and for the commencement of the pre-clearance process.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The General Telegraph newspaper on Friday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Shippers’ Authority, Dr Kofi Mbiah, said the ASHI would assist in minimizing the cost of clearing cargo at the ports by way of reducing the incidence of payments of high rent and demurrage charges by shippers or importers. This will, therefore, lead to a decongestion at the ports since all cargoes will be cleared on time. 

“That advanced information will come to the Ghana Shippers’ Authority and we will feed it to the shipper or importer so the importer can start the pre-clearance process before his ship arrives. It does not mean that he can actually clear, but he can start all the processes before his vessel arrives so that he can beat the 7-day grace period given to him to clear his cargo”

“He is able to cut down on the demurrage payments so this ASHI is critical,”he told The General Telegraph.

Studies conducted by the Shippers’ Authority in 2013 indicated that shippers paid demurrage of about $75 million and rent of about GH¢30 million. These costs resulted from delays in clearing cargo at the ports.

To assist shippers save cost and speed up clearing at the ports, the Authority initiated the process of deploying the ASHI system which will provide shippers and relevant government agencies with advance information on their shipments.

“The ship owner is not interested in demurrage; the Port Authorities are not interested in the rent, the Port Authorities want you to clear your cargo quickly so they can have their space. The shipping line wants you to take your cargo quickly so he can have his container and send his container back into the flow” DrMbiah noted.

He said it is important “we work to cut down on the delays then we can cut down on the demurrage and reduce the cost of doing business at the ports.”  This, he noted, would also reduce the congestion at the ports.

ASHI will also provide commercial invoices and other relevant shipment information far in advance of ship arrival to allow for adequate risk management process by Customs and other relevant agencies thereby securing Government revenue in duties and taxes.

It will also increase security by providing information on the movement of the cargo across the international trade environment. Loss of cargo on transit will also become very minimal.

Source: Frank Owusu-Ofori

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