The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) is taking steps to check the presence of unauthorised persons within the Tema Port to ensure uninterrupted operations.
GHPA is to impose a surcharge of 100,000 cedis on people who entered the Port without any pressing business to do there, Mr Jacob Adorkor, Stevedoring Manager of the Authority, told newsmen at Tema, yesterday.
Mr Adorkor made this known when he and other GPHA officials took members of the Southern Sector of the Ghana Shippers Council round facilities at the Port to assess development in the clearance of goods.
The Shippers Council members were earlier briefed on the expansion project at the container terminal, which now had a capacity for about 4,600 containers.
They were also briefed on efforts to decongest the Port to facilitate trade, security, as well as the dredging of some berths to take in larger vessels. He explained that human traffic had to be reduced to the barest minimum in view of the risk involved in Port operations especially the handling of heavy duty equipment and containers.
Mr Adorkor expressed the hope that the measures would achieve the desired result. He said that before the arrival of any cargo a manifest would be forwarded to Clearing Agents or Shippers giving the condition and other details such as the date and time of arrival, adding that, because of this they did not have to frequently visit the Port.
Mr Cletus Kuzabge, Container Terminal Manager, said a schedule would be prepared for Shippers to load their cargo very soon to avoid undue delay. He stated that even though rent charges would be waived in case of delay caused by GPHA, the Container Terminal Manager appealed to them for cooperation and to wait until they had been notified to ensure smooth operation.
Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor, Public Relations Manager of the Port, said transit trade had increased from 764,000 tones in 2004 to 875,000 tones in 2005 while the number of vessels calling at the Port had also increased considerably.
Alhaji Suleman, Project Engineer, said work on the main road of the Western Gate of the Port would begin in August to make it a dual carriage.
Major Asamoah Duodu (Rtd), Security Coordinator, said GPHA observed strict security measures in line with the International Ship and Port Facility Code (ISPS) and assured importers of the safety of their goods. He said security at the Port had been tightened since the September 11 2004 terrorist attack in the United States. Mr George Alorsor, Senior Shipper Services Manager of the Ghana Shippers Council said he was impressed with development at the Port especially the modern facilities like the gantry cranes to facilitate business. He however, called for the training of the operators to handle the equipment efficiently.
Mr Alorsor advised Shippers and Agents to ensure that their documents were in order to facilitate smooth clearance of goods and to comply with all directives to avoid unnecessary delays.