PATEL, a trade organization which represents the interest of small and medium enterprise businesses across the country, has endorsed the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) deal between the Government of Liberia (GoL) and Global Maritime Tracking Solution (GMTS).
The CTN deal, which is expected to be rolled-out soon through a partnership between GoL, the National Port Authority (NPA), and GTMS, will see the company tracking all containers coming to and passing through all seaports in the country at an additional cost of US$175.
PATEL’s support for the GTMS deal comes less than a week after the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) condemned the deal and argued that it is duplicating requirements that are already being complied with by the importers of cargoes into the country.
“It also makes shipping to Liberia more expensive for suppliers outside of the country and adds no value to export and import. The essence of the GMTS agreement is to allow one company to make money from importers and exporters’ own information generated during their purchases and sales internationally,” the LCC statement said.
However, PATEL through its National Chairman Presley S. Tenwah said the deal, if implemented, would modernize the cargo handling process within various parts of the country in keeping with internationally accepted best practice.
“PATEL wish to state categorically that the introduction of the Cargo Tracking Note and the Advance Cargo Declaration system in the country is quite laudable and must not be subjected to any political maneuvering. Furthermore, the introduction of the CTN and the ACD put Liberia’s cargo handling procedures on par with other countries in the West African sub-region,” Mr. Tenwah said.
Mr. Tenwah added that the new system in question, unlike the old existing BIVAC, Commerce and ASYCUDA system, comes with a lot of advantages, including speeding up the merchandise removal process, saving time, reducing storage/warehousing or demurrage cost.
“The system will fight against any discriminatory pricing practice, which will contribute to the fight against fraud and enhance the improvement of customs. This system will ensure the overall increase in revenue generation to support our country’s national budget and gradually de-risk containers and cargo security in our various ports,” he added.
Mr. Tenwah noted that the introduction of the CTN and ACD in Liberia is harmless to business people and the general public.
The GTMS agreement was signed under the leadership of Cecelia Cuffey-Browne as Acting Managing Director and approved by Bill Twehway, who is now Managing Director of the NPA.
An enforcement notice from the NPA last month added: “The National Port Authority Informs All Stakeholders, especially importers, exporters and carriers, that the Cargo Tracking Note/Advanced Cargo Declaration (CTN/ACD) system started from January 1, 2019, for all shipments to any destination port including transit through Liberia; Shippers/Export/Forwarders at the various ports of loading around the world.”