Policy makers in the West African Sub-regional have been tasked to enforce the international practice of containerizing transit goods and cargoes.
The non-implementation of the standard practice in the sub-region was contributing to some malpractices and loopholes, including inaccurate cargo tracking and cargo diversion associated with the transit trade.
Alhaji Seidu Iddrisu Iddisah, Deputy Commissioner in Charge of Ethics and Good Governance at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), said the use of tarpaulin and other binding materials to reinforce transit goods to neighbouring countries instead of containerizing cargoes could lead to possible manipulations.
“Most often you will see cargo on open trucks. Sometimes when they (truck drivers) leave the port, they load over the recommended height and weight so when they get to the weighbridge, they offload some to appear compliant. All this is done at the blind side of customs,” he said.
He said cargo containers were designed to enable easy fixing of tracking devices, which promote accurate monitoring of transit bound cargoes unlike the use of binding materials.
He stated that Customs was hopeful some solutions would be provided on the issue by the government, adding that his outfit would on its part strengthen collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), and Road Safety Authority to ensure that transit trade drivers abide by the various road traffic laws in the country.
Touching on the use of e-cargo tracking, he disclosed that Customs in collaboration with its partners from the United States of America, under the Security Governance Initiative, was working towards the introduction of an e-cargo tracking system.
Alhaji Iddisah noted that the said e-tracking system would augment the existing trackers being deployed in the country currently as it would provide durable smart devices with a long-lasting battery life that could trigger alarms during any abusive practices.
He stated that a flawless cargo tracking system would inure to the benefit of all parties in the transit trade as it would lead to decongesting the port, securing state revenue, facilitate trade and fish out offenders.