The Ministry of Transport has fixed April 2, 2015 for the commencement of the Advanced Shipment Information (ASHI) policy which is an electronic platform to receive pre-arrival cargo information in advance.
This is to aid planning for the commencement of the pre-clearance process, thus avoiding the payment of huge demurrage and rent charges.
The Ministry of Transport, in a statement signed by Mrs Dzifa Aku Attivor, Minister, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday, directed the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) to take steps to provide clarifications to all relevant stakeholders in the industry.
“This is to ensure that the maritime industry in Ghana, and shippers in particular, reap the full benefits of the system when it is eventually rolled out on April 2, 2015,” the statement said.
The Ministry noted that it had taken into consideration some stakeholders in the maritime industry relating to the administrative processes associated with the implementation of ASHI system by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority.
“It is my understanding, having personally engaged the leadership of some of the stakeholders, that further clarification is required on these processes to allow for a smooth implementation of the ASHI,” the statement said.
Meanwhile in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Dr Kofi Mbiah, Director General of GSA, explained that the authority would continue to collaborate with private and public organisations in the maritime industry to pursue its primary objective of protecting and promoting the interests of shippers in Ghana.
He said GSA would work with all stakeholders in relation to port, ship and inland transport problems in order to ensure safe, reliable and cost effective transportation.
Dr Mbiah explained that in 2012, GSA Regulations (L.I.2190) was passed to give vent to the Authority’s Establishment Law, NRCD 254.
“As part of the provisions in the Regulations, the Authority is mandated to provide relevant shipment information through the Advance Shipment Information (ASHI) system.
He said ASHI would assist in minimising the cost of clearing cargo at the ports by way of reducing the incidence of payments of high rent and demurrage charges.
Dr Mbiah said studies conducted by the Authority in 2013 indicated that shippers paid demurrage of about US$75 million and rent of about Gh¢30 million.
“These costs resulted from delays in clearing cargo at the ports. To assist shippers save cost and speed up clearing at the ports, the Authority has initiated the process of deploying the ASHI system which will provide shippers and relevant government agencies with advance information on their shipments.
The GSA Director General explained that ASHI also sought to build accurate databases on relevant shipment information such as product costs, freight charges, surcharges, as well as conditions of shipment with the shipping service providers as prescribed by L.I.2190.
He said the new system, among other things, would increase security by providing information on the movement of the cargo throughout the international trade environment.
“Loss of cargo on transit will become very minimal. The shipper/forwarder would first register on a web portal (www.antaser.com) and all relevant business information would have to be scanned and attached before submission of the application form through the web portal,” he said.