Freight forwarders who were initially protesting against the paperless clearing system have now turned around to laud the policy.
The National Paperless Port Operations as it is officially called, was introduced few months ago by the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to facilitate clearing of goods at Ghana ports through the use of a single window automation system.
Among the very many benefits expected of the Paperless Clearing System which is meant to replace the old paper system are easier and faster clearing of goods and elimination of corrupt practices brought about by undue human interaction.
Implementation of the policy which officially kicked-off on September 1, 2017, was however met with several challenges ranging from poor organization to lack of adequate sensitization on the part of the concerned clearing agents; a development which sparked protests among freight forwarders at the Tema Port.
But speaking in an interview with Starr Business, the Chief Executive Officer of E. Cargo Services Ghana Limited and Executive Member of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Alex Asiamah, said freight forwarders stand to benefit from the paperless clearing system much more than the government.
Benefits of Paperless Clearing To Freight Forwarders
Mr. Asiamah went ahead to point out ways clearing staff will gain from the new system. According to him, the paperless system will earn them some substantial savings in terms of operations time and cost.
Since the paperless system means carrying out port operations via the internet and on a single window platform, it will definitely save them a whole lot of time and cost as earlier envisaged by the Vice President.
Mr. Asiamah said that they usually spend the same amount they are paid as service charges under the old paper system in mobilising staff and moving from place to place in the freight clearing process.
In addition to this benefit, the paperless policy will also make their work more professional and less stressful.
“…if you can sit in the office and clear containers and do business at the port, it is very, very good. It reduces our cost because sometimes our service charge that comes to us, some of them are the same thing that you use to move staff around to get things. But not moving is good for us and it saves cost,” Alex Asiamah pointed out.
“Trust me, I know the government will benefit but we the professionals will benefit more,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bawumia has described results of the paperless system as amazing, pointing to a sharp rise in port revenue. According to the Vice President, revenue collections at the ports in the first week of September shot up to GHC230 million as against GHC130 million which was raised same period in 2016.