Presently Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GPHA) is appealing with the ministry of Transport and Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to speed up approvals for the clearance of dangerous cargo at the country’s ports, using the recent disaster of Beirut port as a caution. Currently a shipper needs a number of permits when importing dangerous or hazardous chemicals to get them offloaded at the port but will also need a special permit issued by the Interior Minister to transport them out of the port to final destination. Without the signature of the Minister to grant permit, the dangerous goods remain at the port posing threat to activities within the port area.
GPHA’s Corporate Monitoring Manager, Mr. Garvin Amarvie said “We want to look at this situation to see how we can get these institutions closer and to review their processes. The port authority and other stakeholders have tried several times to see if we can vary the process but it has been on deaf ears and no one is paying heed to us.” Currently an assessment is ongoing on a working document drafted by the Authority and industrial workers for the treatment of dangerous and hazardous goods within the port environment, he emphasized.
According to him, “The port has set up a committee to study and audit activities in relation to dangerous goods, review the handling procedure as well as advise on the re-zoning of discharging and storage areas for such cargo. By next week, that reviewed document will be out for broader stakeholder consultations. There is the need for close monitoring and random inspection of parties working with dangerous goods and other combustible materials within our port area, whilst enforcing institutional disaster and emergency drills,” he said at a CILT Ghana Tema Section Webinar dubbed, “Lessons from Beirut: Reviewing preparedness of Ghana’s ports.”