File photo: Tema Port

Technical Committee Member of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwaku Okyere Darko has revealed that the new port operations system rolled out at the Tema Port, UNIPASS does not work and is causing a backlog of declarations in the system, slowing down processes.

“Members are frustrated. People have collected money and importers are waiting for their goods. Those that have been able to clear theirs, are the ones that were processed in the old system and were migrated into the new system through the manual process,” he said on JoyFM’s Super Morning Show, Wednesday. 

Although a pilot of the new system was deployed at the Takoradi Port, Mr Okyere Darko suggests that a pilot could have also been implemented at the Tema Port prior to roll out to avoid the current problems freight forwarders are facing.

“One month after rollout in Takoradi, President (of the Freight Forwarders) went to do a situation report in Takoradi. He came up with 25 major challenges. These challenges were sent to the minister and together with some of us. We had a discussion with the minister of Trade and Industry, the deputy minister, and we told them this was the situation in Takoradi. So if they are not able to solve this problem in Takoradi then there’s no need moving to Tema.”

He added: “You don’t deploy such a project in Tema without any pilot’ You don’t deploy such a project in Tema without using the two systems; GCNet and WestBlue,” together with a pilot. “You don’t also deploy a project like this when you have not fully integrated with all stakeholders involved in the process chain.”

He added that, “Takoradi does not do 1% of what we do in Tema. So if Takoradi started one month afterwards and they are still having these challenges, then we have to be careful when moving to Tema. Tema is where 90% of the country’s cargo passes through.”

He therefore appealed for a live simulation to be conducted for all stakeholders to witness and re-evaluate how the new system works.