The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), will, by July, this year, introduce an online vessel booking and vessel allocation system at the ports to further improve efficiency, and make it more cost effective for business at the country’s ports.
The move which is in line with plans to automate and modernise Ghana’s ports would see the ports move away from the current situation where thrice every week, the GPHA holds berthing meetings with shipping agents and stevedoring companies to know their shipping and berthing requirements in order to allocate berths.
The Marketing and Public Relations Manager of Tema Port, Mr. Paul Asare Ansah, who disclosed this in an interview yesterday, said a data processing centre for the purpose, which would also serve as a one stop shop for invoicing and the payment of revenue, was under construction, and would become operational in the third quarter of the year.
“This will make it possible for agents to file for berthing requirements online from the comfort of their homes or offices, while it is processed and confirmed for payments to be made,” he said.
Mr. Ansah said the facility was in line with the enterprise resource planning module introduced in 2010 to improve port the management system and, all functional processes, to realise higher levels of efficiency.
On port surveillance and security, he said the electronic gate project was 80 per cent complete.
“We have provided identity cards for all service providers in the ports and we are now working on biometric identification systems to help us know who enters the ports to do what, and reduce the incidence of pilfering and stowaways among others,” he said.
According to him, optical character recognition cameras have been installed, and boom barriers were being updated at the gates to help identify drivers, trucks and their documentations all in a bid to better secure cargo.
Mr. Ansah called on members of the port community to co-operate with efforts to improve service provision, cargo clearing time and make the port less costly for doing business.
He said to further enhance human resource capacity, the GPHA was collaborating with STC of Holland to set up a port training centre at Tema.
Mr. Ansah said additionally to strengthen its engagement with stakeholders and the general public, the GPHA has set up a 30 minute communication channel ‘Eye on Port’ on Metro TV (Sundays 5:30 p.m.), and on Ghana Television (Mondays 6:30 p.m.), to discuss all relevant issues engaging the attention of the port community.
“We have also reactivated the Port Advisory Committee for regulation agencies, security agencies, standardisation agencies, private and public sector organisations operating in the port to review and improve their operations,” he said.
Mr. Ansah said a Port Community Association had also been formed to help with policy formulation and ensure that, policies are well co-ordinated.
From Godfred Blay Gibbah,Tema