Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority News

The Fire and Safety Department of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority commits itself to ensure all its personnel are of the right standard of professionalism to execute their various assigned tasks in order to attain the goal of an incident free port and optimum safety. In order to sustain this vision, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has assigned a group of 10 fire officers of the organization, to undergo intensive 8 weeks training program to equip them with adequate skills for firefighting and safety.
These new officers were successful in both the theoretical and practical examinations which covered a wide range of disciplines including pump operation, ladder use, water supply, firefighting, first aid application, etc.
They were encouraged to embody all the core values of the Fire Service and Port Authority which are commitment, reliability, teamwork, bravery and discipline during their span of duty.

“I encourage you to embrace the values and ethics of the service which are also in line with the Authority’s core values which are commitment, reliability, team work, dedication, bravery, and discipline,” the Fire and Safety Manager of the Tema Port, Edward Hayman urged.
The Director of Tema Port, Sandra Opoku expressed that these programs are intended to augment the staff strength and admonished the fire personnel to observe professionalism in their duties to be able to meet modern safety requirements.
She praised the department for ensuring that the incident of fire and hazard concerns, have been drastically reduced in the past years.
“We want to commend the management and staff of this department, Mr. Hayman and his team for upholding the standards and ensuring a drastic reduction of fire incidents in the port,” she expressed.


The Maritime and Dockworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress, has expressed its displeasure towards the Meridian Ports Services’ lack of concern to negotiations with the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, regarding solutions to the negative effects of the MPS Terminal 3 contract on Ghana’s Port Authority.
According to the MDU a provision of the concession agreement, gives the Meridian Port Services exclusive rights to handle almost all containerized cargo in Tema Port, leaving the GPHA to handle only container vessels of less than 200 TEUs which is a rarity.
This, according to the MDU will have severe revenue repercussions on the GPHA, who may be forced to offload a projected 1,400 of its workers, in order to survive.
As a result, over the past few months, following a directive from the President Nana Akufo Addo, meetings have been organized to renegotiate the terms of the contract in order to make sure revenue and staff of GPHA are retained.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the MDU, in collaboration with the TUC, the General Secretary of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union, Daniel Owusu Koranteng said, MPS has failed to corporate with what he described as GPHA’s modest demand of handling 20% of eligible container vessels that call the Tema Port.

“According to GPHA when the modest demand of 20% of eligible vessels is granted, the authority would be able to have enough revenues to keep its workers and avoid job losses but MPS maintains that if we grant GPHA the right to work on 20% of eligible vessels it will amount to losing its investment protection,” he disclosed.
He said, MPS instead proposes to help find jobs for some of the workers who would lose their jobs, as well as pay those who cannot be employed immediately for 3 years and retrain them with the hope of making them employable in the future.
 “In our view the proposals of MPS are only palliatives which will not be able to address the important issues of revenue generation for GPHA, job creation and the problem of job loss. Such a proposal will convert GPHA from a landlord status to a vulnerable entity that can survive dole outs from its tenant, where MPS is the tenant,” he said.
 This lack of cooperation and delay by MPS to conclude on a tangible solution for GPHA’s sustenance as a strong national institution, according to the MDU is threatening national economic security.
“Currently GPHA is a providing employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of permanent workers, national service personnel, contact staff etc. We expect government to support GPHA to create jobs for our people and generate revenue for government. This is in contrast to the low employment generation by MPS and the repatriation of profits by multinationals to their home countries,” he said.


The Ghana Shippers’ Authority in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute has organized the 12th edition of the Maritime Law Seminar, an annual program that seeks to update the knowledge of judges of the Superior Courts of Ghana on all maritime related issues.
The topics discussed at the seminar covered two major areas namely ocean governance, and maritime trade with maritime security as a key subject.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers' Authority, Benonita Bismarck said because the maritime trade contributes immensely to the national economic development of Ghana, it has become incumbent for a sound national legal system to compliment the thriving maritime sector.
Revealing that the series has been modified from being an annual seminar to a biennial one, she said, it is the hope of the Shippers’ Authority that these efforts and more with make Ghana become the center of maritime adjudication in the sub-region.
“All these activities in the maritime sub-sector need to be complemented by a strong and efficient judiciary. We have no doubt that this little contribution of ours in the training of the judiciary in maritime law will go a long way to ensuring a vibrant, prosperous and a stable maritime trade and transport sector for Ghana,” she said.   

Gloria Akufo, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, stated that automation, and policy directives in port processes and maritime issues are commendable towards transforming Ghana to attain its economic goals, however, expected socio-economic challenges that may result from this evolution would need to be addressed by a vibrant, credible, and efficient judiciary.
 “These positive maritime interventions and activities come with many socio-economic challenges. Where there is such a flurry of business activities, dispute is inevitable. There is the need for a vibrant, credible, effective and efficient judiciary that can deal with the complex disputes that may emerge as a result of the ever increasing maritime activities,” she stated.
The Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said with the Government of Ghana committed to make the country attractive for international trade and investment, it is ready to support all interventions directed at safeguarding Ghana’s port and maritime industry which according to him would continue to serve as a strategic national asset for development.
“Government will continue to work with the industry players to bring about efficiency to attract the needed investment and position Ghana as a preferred destination for business within the sub-region,” he added. 
Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, Justice Sophia A.B Akufo, said maritime disputes are a very common phenomenon in history and will predictably remain so. She urged the various judges participating in the seminar to take full advantage to equip themselves towards the dispensation of justice in maritime matters.
“Your lordships and ladyships stand to benefit immensely from these topics considering the rich academic and practical background of the selected resource persons.”

Prince Akwaboah, Officer in Charge of Auctions at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has emphasized that Customs is the only organization mandated to auction confiscated cars, therefore, the general public should desist from engaging persons who lure them into buying auction cars.
“As far as it is an import, customs is the only organisation mandated to auction those cars. There is no other organisation which auction confiscated vehicles,” he reiterated.  
Speaking on the most authoritative Maritime and Port industry programme, Eye on Port, Prince Akwaboah, Officer in Charge of Auctions at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority said customs does not conduct online auction, which is one of the means some fraudsters use to defraud the unsuspecting public and advised persons who want to buy cars not to solely depend on documents presented to them but verify from customs.
“You need to go to customs collections and then send both car and documents there and let customs do physical inspection on the car, check the documents from our system to authenticate it before you commit any money,” he cautioned.
He also stated that highest bidders are sometimes not given the items being auctioned because most people are not committed to pay the amounts they quote during public auctions.
“The assessment of the vehicle is that the duty component that the owner refused to pay is what the law asks us to collect. Now somebody comes and then knowing that it is his car and finding it difficult to let it go will come to the auction and bid an unreasonable amount. For instance, a Toyota Corolla which could cost about GHS 30000 on the market, he will price it at GHS 50000. It is obvious that he will not come for the item. So now it is not the highest bidder but the reasonable bidder. Anything above the reserve price, the auctioneer has the discretion to let it go,” he revealed.

Secret Auctions
Prince Akwaboah, said the Division’s auctions are conducted publicly and in a transparent manner which is in accordance with law.
“The fact is that the items available for auctions are not many and the demand is high so I will urge everybody who wants to get an auction car or whatever kindly come to the auction grounds where the auction is been conducted and then participate,” he added.

Mobile Money Account
Tebon Zumah, the Treasury Manager at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, who was also engaged in the live panel discussion on Fraud related to the auctioning of cars and goods at the Port”, emphasized that the Port Authority does not operate a mobile money account and also does not auction public goods and cars at the Port.
He advised the public not to be induced by cheap prices of cars being offered to them.
“The potential victims should watch out. When they give them those sweet offers which are so cheap, they should be very careful. They should take the first step by making a move to the port to find out,” he advised.  

Modus Operandi
Charles Asare, the Superintendent of Police, of the Marine, Railways and Ports Unit revealed that his outfit receives reports of several cases of car fraud on a regular basis.
He disclosed some modus operandi of car fraudsters and entreated the general public to be cautious.
“There are others too who are able to generate Customs Classification and Valuation Report, by going into the customs’ website. Fraudsters can now access the information of cars whose duty have been paid and they use that information to generate CCVR and then they print the information using the chassis number then they will approach you with it and if you are not careful they will sell the car to you. At the time you realize, after you take the documents, they are all fake,” he revealed.

Online Selling Platforms
Felix Charles Asare also called for operators of online selling platforms such as OLX and Tonaton to put in place stringent measures for persons who advertise sale of cars on their platforms.
“For these owners of websites where people can download and do business they should be asked to do more because of the way people are abusing the system. They should be asked to actually get more information on their clients,” he stated.
Tebon Zumah entreated members of the public who are made offers to buy cars not to hesitate to crosscheck the authenticity of those offers before parting with money.
“They will tell you to not tell anybody because the auctioneer just wants to help you. If you keep on talking about it ‘alarm will blow’,” he disclosed another mode of deception by these fraudsters.  

Access to Car Terminals
The panellists on the programme called for tighter security at the various terminals where cars are kept to prevent fraudsters from luring members of the public to those terminals.
“If you get to the safe bond, freight forwarders are allowed entry and importers are also allowed entry. Our freight forwarders most of them have to go there with passes and they are allowed to go there with importers to check up on the vehicles. This is an area where people take opportunity of the loopholes and lead innocent victims who want to buy cars and physically point cars to people to choose from,” the Superintendent of Police, at the Marine, Railways and Ports Unit said.  
The panellists also called for the regulation of the activities of clearing agents as mostly the unregistered ones who engage in fraudulent activities are unable to be tracked.
“If you are a registered agent or freight forwarder and you allow a floating agent to use your company to do stamping and there is a problem the sanctions should be very high,” the Policeman said.

The New Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command of the Ghana Navy, Commodore Walker, who recently took office from Commodore Kontoh, has paid a courtesy call on the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, to officially introduce himself to the Port Authority who are key collaborators, with Ghana’s marine security agency.
The FOC also took the opportunity to solicit assistance from the Port Authority to improve the execution of their mandate.
The Director of Takoradi Port, Ebenezer Afadzi acting on behalf of the Director General of GPHA, urged the Navy to continue to help police the Port’s anchorage to ensure sustenance in Ghana’s reputation of having safe waters.
The Director of Tema Port, Sandra Opoku, also requested the Navy to tighten its measures to create adequate resistance against the incessant rise of piracy and armed robbery on the Gulf of Guinea.
“The issue of piracy in our waters are okay but we are getting a lot of problems from the Benin and Nigerian waters. The spill over is gradually coming closer to us. That is one area that we will ask that the navy will see to it that it doesn’t,” she appealed.  
Commodore Walker, assured of his outfit’s continuous support to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, in Ghana’s marine security.
“I want to give you that assurance-that my style. I always want to be at the fore front with my men. I want us to continue to collaborate and see how best we can support each other.”

© 2016 Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority. All Rights Reserved.