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11.09.2004 Business & Finance

Containers to be scanned before leaving Ports- Akumfi

By GNA

Tema, Sept. 11, GNA- Professor Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi, Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways said on Friday that henceforth containers leaving the ports would have to be scanned.

Prof. Akumfi who made this known when he visited the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) in Tema to know the progress made on the compliance project going on at the GPHA, said the measure would enable the port authorities to ascertain the contents of those containers. The visit enabled the Minister to assess work at the valuation, registration and compliance departments of GPHA.

Prof. Akumfi said GPHA is collaborating with the Custom, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) to work out the necessary modalities to ensure effective implementation of the scanning of containers.

The Minister used the occasion to dilate on the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) Code, which enjoined nations worldwide to put in place necessary security measures at their ports.

He explained that in order to conduct International Trade effectively, there was the need for nations to comply with the ISPS Code.

Prof Akumfi said the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States gave birth to the idea of nations' compliance with the ISPS Code to ensure that their ports were well safeguarded against risks.

He said Ghana was now in compliance with the Code, and that a port security unit headed by the Harbour Master, had been put in place, to ensure tight security measures at the ports.

Prof. Akumfi said GPHA authorities were constructing a wall known as Ports Perimeter Wall around the place to ensure security at the ports.

Mr Ben Owusu-Mensah, Director-General of the GPHA who accompanied the Minister, stated that on the West African Coast, GPHA was one of the few ports that had been awarded the contract to undertake the compliance project.

Mr Owusu-Mensah said the project, which was financed by GPHA would ensure that fence-walls were constructed around the Tema and Takoradi Ports.

He hinted that the Tema project, which had reached an advanced stage, would be completed by the end of next month.

The GPHA Boss said the wall; 4.5 metres high would cost a total of 2.8 billion cedis.

He stated that as part of security network at the ports, those with genuine identification cards would be allowed into the premises to do business.

Mr Owusu-Mensah said in future GPHA and CEPS authorities would have their own scanners to work on containers leaving the ports. Mr Africanus Owusu-Ansah, Tema Sector Commander of CEPS, stressed the need for the two institutions to cooperate in order to ensure efficiency, at the nation's ports and harbours.

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