The Ghana Community Network Service Limited (GCNet) says it is preparing to shut down its system at the Tema Port on Monday June 1, 2020.
A source at the company who confirmed this to the Ghanaian Times said the move was to give way for UNIPASS, now Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS) to take over single window operations at the port.
The Acting Commissioner General of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah in a letter to the existing vendors and the various port stakeholders yesterday, instructed that from Monday June 1, 2020, all transactions without exception in respect of import/export shall only be processed from ICUMS.
The source said the shutdown was to comply with the government's directive in order to allow UNIPASS/ICUM to take over single window operations at the various ports in this country, including Tema and KIA.
It would be recalled that the GRA in collaboration with the Ghana Link Network Services Limited and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) had successfully conducted a simulation exercise for the new Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS).
The exercise which included the Meridian Port Services (MPS) Limited, Ghana Shippers Authority, Shipping Lines, National Security, Narcotics Control Board, Food and Drugs Authority, Bank of Ghana( BoG), Ghana Standard Authority, Free Zones Authority and all other stakeholders at the Port of Tema aimed at testing the ICUMS ability to aid the free flow of both import and export.
It was also to test the response time in dealing with the simulated incident when multiple government entities are involved in to react immediately upon request, based on a scenario involving the grounding of a vessel due to an oil spill that could have environmental repercussions on the ports marine wildlife.
The Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Marfo who was part of the delegation of government officials to observe the simulation and stressed test expressed his satisfaction of progress of work so far in the implementation of the project but also charged the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA to ensure that the ICUMS has a smooth take-off.
The government's directive according to some cleaning agents at the Takoradi Port had come at a time UNIPASS was facing challenges at the port.
This will be the second time that UNIPASS/ICUM has attempted to take over the single window operations at the Tema port.
The first attempt was fraught with some challenges resulting in a situation where goods could not be cleared.
According to the clearing agents at the Takoradi port, unlike the GCNet / West Blue systems where documents are electronically available for direct access anytime any day in the end to end chain, that is not so with the new UNIPASS/ICUMS systems.
President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Edward Akrong in a recent interview with various media houses said the rollout of UNIPASS/ICUMS at the Takoradi port was creating a lot of unbearable problems for them.
"Our members are having problems seriously using the UNIPASS/ICUMS. This is because the system is problematic. Some importers have still not been able to clear their goods since April 9, 2020. We are losing a lot of revenue as a result of the failing system," he said.