A situational analyses of the Tema, Takoradi ports and the Kotoka International Airport have revealed that they are over stretched in terms of infrastructure and human resource to ensure maximum efficiency.
According to statistics, trade in container traffic had increased since 2010 with a percentage of 39 from 643,188 in 2010 to 894,575 in 2013. Aviation traffic also increased by 17 percent from 46,575 tonnes to 54, 390 tonnes during the same period.
Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, who presented the research findings at a sensitization and validation workshop organised by the Western Regional Branch of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), mentioned the cumbersome activities importers and exporters had to go through before clearing goods which continued to affect the cost of doing business.
The research, commissioned by the GNCC, was to find answers to complaints of cost escalation and delays in clearing goods at the major ports of entry and exit as a contribution to improving operational effectiveness and efficiency at the ports of Ghana.
Touching on the amount of time used to clear goods, the research revealed that the bulk of the time was spent on custom clearance and other public entities including pyto-sanitary inspectors.
Dr. Otoo indicated that most of the respondents were worried about the cost of doing business at the ports which according to the findings ranged between GH100.00 and GHC650,000.00
The findings also revealed that majority of businesses rather resorted to informal channels that enable them to clear their goods faster. “These informal arrangements manifest in monetary payments and is more of a public sector issue. These arrangements facilitate our import and export business since refusing to pay delays your operations,” the report pointed out.
According to the report, delays at the ports were due to extortion, human interference, and duplication of functions, unnecessary procedures and the nature of port facilities as well as the many agencies involved in clearing.
Dr. Otoo said from the perspective of importers, exporters and state agencies though all the ports had standard facilities, expansion was overdue and that the expansion must consider streamlining and simplification of procedures, provision of clinics and sanitary facilities, equipment and physical space.
The research also recommended that the ports must be seen as a gateway and not warehouses, as well as review of the involvement of agents in the import and export trade.
It also asked that there should be procedural review and upgrade of human resources working at the various ports.