The Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, Michael Luguje has revealed that collaborative efforts are ongoing between his outfit, the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, to ensure that cargoes enlisted under the uncleared cargo list (UCL) are auctioned quickly after they elapse the 60days deadline.
Speaking at the 4th Economic Dialogue Series organized by Media General, he said this will not only to decongest the port space but will also ensure that state revenue is quickly retained.
He explained that the unusual delays that characterized auctioning have its repercussions in terms of cost to the state, terminal operators and shipping lines.
Michael Luguje, who is the President of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa, explained that this has made shipping lines factor in more risk when using Ghanaian ports.
“Shipping Lines have complained that it is making Ghana’s market riskier. So when you are bringing your container load of cargo into Ghana, they factor in the risk of that container sitting for months and even years. They factor all that in the freight that they charge Ghanaian importers,” the GPHA boss elaborated.
He also lamented that some of these goods are perishable and delays in auctioning could lead to them going bad, leading to waste.
He added that cost also incurred during destroying of perished cargoes should be avoided.
The Director General also acknowledged the significant success of the Paperless port systems at the country’s ports which has been further streamlined by the introduction of the Integrated Customs Management System.
Michael Luguje revealed that GPHA is collaborating with key institutions such as the Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Navy, and National Security, to ensure that Ghana’s maritime security is augmented in the wake of piracy threats in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Unfortunately for us we are neighbors to Nigeria where the maritime waters are very risky and getting a lot of spill over into Benin and Togo, so we are collaborating very strongly to ensure that as much as possible there is a push back,” he explained.
While lamenting the incessant rise of piracy in and around Nigerian territorial waters, he revealed that vessels bound for Nigeria sometimes find solace in Ghana’s port anchorage, due to the security offered there.