The maximum period it takes importers to clear goods from the port has been reduced from three weeks to three days since the introduction of the paperless port system barely a year ago.
Although it takes maximum of three days to clear goods, about 43 per cent of importers are able to clear their goods within 24 hours.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia gave these statistics yesterday when he opened the 39th Council Meeting of Port Management Associations of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) at the Shippers House in Accra.
The Paperless Port System was introduced last year to, among other things, reduce the turn-around time and ensure efficiency at the ports.
The system forms part of the government’s broader vision of reducing the cost of doing business in the country to encourage productivity and attract investors.
In addition to the paperless port system, the Vice President said the various regulatory inspection agencies had also been reduced from 16 inspection agencies to three agencies.
This means importers go through only three inspection agencies to clear their goods from the ports.
“Previously, importers used to go around the ports looking for all the 16 agencies to inspect their goods before they can clear them. Now we have reduced the inspection agencies to only three,” he said.
Internal custom barriers had also been abolished, the Vice President said and added that the activities at the Long Room at the port had been automated.
Touching on the port expansion project at the Tema and Takoradi ports, he said the projects, when completed, would increase container traffic at the two ports from 1.6 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) to 4.5 million TEU.
Vice President Bawumia said the vision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration was to make Ghana’s port one of the best in the world to position the country as the destination of choice.
Citing Singapore and Dubai as examples of countries that had drastically improved efficiency at their ports, he said Ghana’s ports could become one of the best in the world if managed properly.
However, he said the port would become a spot for extreme corruption if not managed well.
He said the government, on its part, would work towards ensuring efficiency in cargo handling and service delivery as part of measures to reduce the cost of doing business in the country and urged all stakeholders at the port to support the government.
Vice President Bawumia entreated the Ghana Ports and Habour Authority and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to integrate their systems to improve efficiency at the port.