Port disruption looms; new system to cost taxpayers $180m

Port Photo Tema 02 The takeover of single window operations from WestBlue and GCNet will cost taxpayers more money

Mon, 17 Dec 2018 Source: thebftonline.com

Clearing and export of goods through the country’s seaports is expected to suffer greatly beginning January 1, 2019, when the existing Single Window system jointly operated by GCNet and Customs World Dubai (West Blue) is unplugged for a new system to be installed.

According to this paper’s sources, the South Korea company, UNIPASS – which has been awarded a 10-year sole-source contract by the government of Ghana under the Ministry of Trade to offer a service already provided by GCNet and Customs World (WestBlue Consulting), is expected to begin operations on January 1, 2019 even though there are no signs of their readiness.

Stakeholders, according to sources, have also not been properly briefed about the deal.

Another big challenge is the training of Customs officials on how to operate the new system; training for stakeholders to understand how the new system works; and the errors that come with operating such a new system before it reaches it smooth operating level after some years.

Higher Charges

The takeover of single window operations from Customs World (WestBlue Consulting) and GCNet will cost taxpayers more money.

Ghana Link with its overseas partner, CUPIA Korea Customs Service, will provide the trade facilitation and Customs Management System at a 0.75 percent fee (FOB) per their 10-year sole-source contract with Ministry of Trade.

This means that Ghanaian importers will be paying about US$180million at the end of their 10-year contract with Ghana based on the current import volumes.

Meanwhile, the South Korean Customs agency said in a recent publication that the 10-year deal it has signed with Ghana to deploy its single window system at the country’s port cost US$40million.

This figure is far higher than what the existing vendors, West Blue and GCNet, are currently receiving as a fee.

West Blue Consulting with its overseas partner, Customs World Dubai, currently earns 0.28 percent, while GCNet earns 0.4 percent. So, the two existing vendors providing single window operations in Ghana together are taking 0.68 percent, which is far below what UNIPASS is going to take (0.75 percent).

West Blue, GCNet Systems

GCNet and West Blue Consulting – with its overseas partner Customs World Dubai – are providing a fully integrated trade facilitation and Customs management system at the ports, which already incorporates all the modules that UNIPASS is being contracted to deploy at the ports.

The systems of the two companies have been fine-tuned to perfection, and hundreds of hours spent training stakeholders on how to use it.

Unplugging the current single window will derail gains made under the Paperless Port programme, in which the existing platform plays an important role.

Another challenge is the loss of revenue; the existing system has played a key role in increasing government’s revenue generated at the ports, by blocking leakages and ensuring all revenues are accounted for.

Source: thebftonline.com