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Ghana National Single Window to complement existing platform

The goal of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) platform is to provide an interface to existing customs management systems and not to replace, as many people envisage, officials of West Blue Consulting have said.

According to the General Manager of the company, Mr Aminu Uthman, the project being spearheaded by West Blue was to provide a single platform which would serve as an interface for existing systems as part of efforts aimed at reducing paper-based processes and further eliminate the duplication of date and multiple submission of documents for port clearance processes.

Mr Aminu, speaking at the just-ended seminar on Single Windows (SWs) and Port Community Systems (PCS) in Cotonou in Benin, indicated that while Ghana did not have a single window presently, the processes for the deployment of the project were progressing steadily.

The participants

The seminar, organised by the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), had over 100 participants from 17 countries in West and Central Africa, France and Singapore covering port authorities, shippers councils, single window and port community system operating companies, information and technology solutions companies and other port and shipping sector operators.

Representatives of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) also attended the three-day seminar, aimed at encouraging countries to take urgent steps to enhance trade facilitation through the deployment of single window and PCS and other relevant IT tools.

Mr Aminu indicated that complexities within Ghana’s trade procedures required the need for a convergence point where all stakeholders could have a single interface which would allow the free flow of trade and port clearance processes. “At the moment, we have to deploy infrastructure for various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MMDAs) that do not have the infrastructure so they can interface with the platform when the implementation of the national single window is rolled out,” Mr Aminu said.

Existing systems

Mr Aminu pointed out that while there was already the Ghana Community Management Systems in place for clearance processes, the systems deployed by West Blue sought to complement the already existing platforms.

He indicated that the gap analysis conducted by West Blue necessitated the need for new systems to be made to complement existing ones to simplify trade processes and procedures and improve transparency in international trade transactions.

Mr Aminu pointed out that whereas there were several systems already in place, the NSW project sought to deliver a national single window, “and the goal is not to replace but rather provide an interface with the existing system to coordinate procedures”.


Presently, he indicated, the company was in the process of deploying electronic manifest (a document that gives details of cargo arriving at a port) to help in the tracking of shipment.

The e-manifest, whose implementation had taken off at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Mr Aminu said, would require shipping carriers and freight forwarders to send advanced commercial information on their shipments electronically to Customs.

“We have submitted proposals to the GPHA and awaiting its approval to deploy the service,” he added.

Pointing out challenges in delivering the project, West Blue, he said, had had setbacks such as the people’s resistance to change, integrating its systems to existing systems, Internet connectivity among others.

“In delivering some of our projects, we have had to set up infrastructure and further renovate facilities in order to achieve the essence of the project,” Mr Aminu pointed out.

He, however, expressed the hope that the measures being deployed by the company, in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, would help government’s efforts at ensuring efficiency in trade processes.


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