The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has initiated a free port terminal policy to exempt imported vehicles aged up to five years from confiscation when they are not cleared after 60 days upon arrival.
Currently, port regulations allow for vehicles of any age to be cleared within a 60-day period or be confiscated.
Under a new arrangement, vehicles within the ages of up to five years will be allocated a terminal outside the port to enable owners clear them at their own pace and pay rent for the period the car is kept at the port.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager of the GPHA, Mr Kumi Adjei-Sam, explained that the concept would also reduce the stress of looking for funds to clear vehicles and further decongest the port.
He said a tract of land had been acquired near Kpone for the purpose and when ready importers of new vehicles would have all the time to keep their vehicles at the free port terminal for a fee representing rents charges over the period that vehicle would spend at the terminal.
Mr Adjei-Sam emphasised that the free port terminal was for only new vehicles within five years while other aged vehicles would still remain in the port for a fee and attract confiscation within the 60-day period.
He was of the view that the new policy would make it unattractive to import over aged vehicles.
Mr Adjei-Sam said GPHA and its stakeholders were in consultation to finalise the process for the take off of the new arrangement.
He mentioned some of the stakeholders as the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Freight Forwarders, Shipping Agents, National Security and Ghana Shippers Authority, among others.
Mr Adjei-Sam stated that the new policy would help decongest the port for other expansion works to take place.
He said contractors were on site and expansion work on the dry bulk terminal at the Tema Port had started.
Mr Adjei-Sam disclosed that geo-technical survey had also started at the Takoradi Port as part of the expansion work.
He noted that roads within the port would be redesigned and the entrance of the port remoulded to open up for a wider outlet.
According to him, work has started on the last three traffic lights in the port area to regulate traffic to and from the Tema Harbour to reduce traffic congestion on the route.
The three, in addition to another five which have already been mounted is estimated to cost GH?1 million.
The traffic lights are located at the port entrance, the fishing harbour entrance, the Newtown-harbour crossroads, Ghacem junction, meridian junction, the motor way junction, the Golden Jubilee Terminal and the Tema Community Three- harbour intersection.
Mr Adjei-Sam stated that time spent by haulage trucks in entering and leaving the port had been a concern and the new concept of redesigning would help to reduce the delays.
He disclosed that the GPHA had introduced some additional innovations, including working on Saturdays, to speed up the process of clearing.
Mr Adjei Kumi said the GPHA had set a target for high efficiency service delivery for 2013, which could only be achieved through hard work, perseverance and dedication to work.
Meanwhile, traffic lights financed by the GPHA and mounted to regulate traffic on the main harbour ?fishing harbour junction road has yielded some positive results by controlling the movement of haulage trucks on the route.
Source: Daily Graphic