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17.08.2005 Business & Finance

Shippers Council To Facilitate Movement Of Goods Within ECOWAS

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Accra, Aug. 17, GNA - Ghana has started putting in place effective measures to facilitate the movement of goods and services within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in conformity with the relevant protocol of the Sub-Regional Organisation.

In accordance with this, a Sealed Grid System (SGP) is being introduced to speed up and to provide safety for inter-state transportation of goods as well as the transportation of transit cargo in the Region, under the auspices of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA).

The SGP is a grid material made of metallic or sisal net, synthetic or semi-synthetic, stretched over a 10-tonne; 20-tonne; 30-tonne or 40-tonne loaded truck and sealed by customs to provide safety and security for international transportation of goods. A statement by the Ghana Shippers' Council in Accra on Wednesday and signed by Nana Agyekum Gyamerah, Public Relations Officer, said under the facility, the discharging or unloading of goods would be handled in the presence of customs officials after the seal had been removed.

It noted that a major hindrance to the free movement of goods across the Sub-Region, including transit trade, were administrative bottlenecks in the form of numerous Police and Customs barriers, as well as cumbersome border crossing procedures.

"It is the quest for systems that can remove these hindrances without sacrificing national revenue and security concerns that the SGP was conceived to address the elimination of customs doubt on the technical reliability of the vehicles used, cumbersome customs escort, surcharges on vehicles transporting goods and promotion of credit insurance, among other things."

The statement said the SGP was being tested along Corridor One - - Abidjan to Lagos, and Corridor Two - Dakar to Niamey. That of Corridor One would set off from Abidjan on August 17, arriving in Ghana through Elubo on August 18 and depart through Aflao on August 22, to Lagos and proceed onwards to Abuja by August 29.

It explained that the results of the test on Corridor One would serve as the basis for improvements on the test to be carried out along Corridor Two and in Central Africa, adding; "if the tests prove successful, the SGP will be adopted as a regional Project for member countries of MOWCA.

Meanwhile, major stakeholders such as importers, exporters, transporters, freight forwarders and relevant government agencies like the CEPS, Police and Immigration have been invited to exhibitions of the SGP caravan and the Sealed Grid material at Takoradi on August 18 and Tema on August 19, the statement said.

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