The former rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, who was also the resident coordinator of the UN System in Namibia for four years, Stephen Adei, complimented Namport for its efficiency, citing it as an example of how operations should be streamlined in Ghana.
Speaking at a leadership forum organised by the Canada-Ghana Chamber of Commerce last week, Adei said Ghana must streamline its port system like Namibia has done. He also advised Ghana’s new national ports chief Kwadwo Afriyie to clamp down on corrupt port officials, and reduce the bureaucracy in clearing goods.
“Somebody like me with a PhD in international trade and finance cannot even clear a pencil from the port. I require a semi-literate agent… why? Because he always knows where to pay the bribe,” Adei was quoted as saying. “What struck me about Namibia, which I always use as an example because I happened to be the UN ambassador there for four-and-a-half years, is that it takes only three steps to clear goods at the Walvis Bay port in Namibia”.
Namport customer care manager Elisa Hasheela told The Namibian that Adei’s comments were “definitely encouraging”.
She said Namport’s efficiency in the clearing of cargo is one of their competitive advantages as a regional congestion-free port. Cargo handled through Walvis Bay and Lüderitz can in fact be cleared and delivered out of the port within 24 hours.
Hasheela explained the “three steps” referred to by Adei: “This is mainly made easy and possible because of less bureaucracy involved and clear guidelines that should be followed. In simple terms, cargo owners only have to deal with three parties; that is dealing with the Ministry of Finance, the shipping line and Namport. This process can be completed in less than a day, depending on the consignment size and type of cargo involved.”
She said this was important, especially from the client’s perspective, as an importer would want cargo to be cleared and released within a reasonable time.
“Our ports deal with clients from the entire SADC region (350 million people), and our ability to clear and release cargo in the shortest possible time is of paramount importance to them as it may prove to be a make or break factor to some business people,” she told The Namibian.
Asked about what clearance and security challenges Namport still faces, Hasheela said that despite no major challenges being experienced relating to clearing, the ports authority remains alert, and sensitises its clients to be careful and engage agencies with proven track records to avoid disappointment.
“We as a port authority have a little role to play in a relationship between the cargo owner and the clearing agency, but remain watchful to ensure that our ports and corridors’ reputation and image are well-preserved in the market,” she noted.
From a security perspective, as global trade expands and is compounded by the advancement in technologies, crime also becomes a prominent security threat.
According to her, although Namibian ports are not immune to criminal activities, they have seen a “tremendous decline” in security threats, crediting Namport’s professional security and emergency personnel, assisted by CCTV cameras installed at strategic points all over the ports.
She said Namport has invested a substantial amount of money to boost its security capabilities, in line with international best standards.
Hasheela advised the incoming director to work with the relevant stakeholders to reduce bureaucracy –bottlenecks to reducing clearing time.
“This is very critical to the cargo owner and eventually the shipping lines that have to bring volumes to their ports. Our quick turnaround time is one of our key value propositions,” she noted.
Source: The Namibian