The President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Edward Akrong, has urged the trading public to trust the services of freight forwarders to not only broker customs clearance of goods, but also provide just in time end to end delivery of goods and services internationally.
“We are able to do that because we are networked. You do not only have to travel all the way to Kazakhstan because you need a part or two for a factory or production. You can contact your freight forwarder to handle all of that for you more efficiently,” he said.
Speaking on Eye on Port on Consolidating the Role of the Freight Forwarder in Modern Port Operations, he emphasized that the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders is a professional body with well-trained members with all the requisite skills needed to adequately perform custom house brokerage and other freight forwarding functions.
“What we do is a lot more intense than just the customs house agency bit. As freight forwarders, we do a lot more. That is why we have the academy. So, we train those who want to get into the industry in a whole variety of things for the work,” he said.
Unscrupulous Clearing agents
The President of GIFF hinted that the growing public concern of miscreants within the freight forwarding fraternity as slightly overrated and described professional misbehavior as common in all human institutions and not restricted to his outfit alone.
“It’s a human society and so we are bound to have miscreants in any situation. So you cannot restrict it down to us, because of maybe one or two things that you hear,” he argued.
But, he urged the public to deal with legitimate members of his association by scrutinizing and ensuring that they are registered and in good standing with GIFF.
“If you want to do business with anybody, please do the due diligence and make sure that this is a properly licensed customs house agent who belongs to a recognizable association. Locate his office and be sure you can deal with him properly. Do not go dishing out money to any stranger,” he cautioned.
He revealed that they have collaborated with customs to have all recognized customs house agents in a database to help importers verify from.
“So we have everything in there, from your ID’s, educational standards, everything has been logged in the customs management systems. This is to ensure that at the touch of a button any customs officer will realize the particular company you work for,” he explained.
Importers to self-declare?
Answering the question whether it is about time importers and exporters clear goods by themselves, the GIFF president said individuals are open to clear goods themselves but warned that the freight forwarding job is complex and the agent is necessary for trade facilitation.
“The law allows anyone to apply to be self-declarant. But they have to patronize us. The things we have to go through to get your work done is complex. It is difficult to easily understand. You have to have the domain expertise.”
Amalgamation of Freight Forwarding Associations
Mr. Akrong said that the Committee of Freight Forwarding Associations is hoping to have a legislative instrument to enable transform the committee to become a formal establishment.
He said the amalgamation of the Freight Forwarding Associations, is intended to bring a more comprehensive approach to dealing with issues that affect the freight forwarding industry.