By S. U. Thoronka…………………..
The Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Alex Balogun Koroma yesterday presented an agreement to Parliament for ratification on the privatization of the Cargo Tracking Note operation at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority.
In his introduction of the agreement, the Minister said that the Government of Sierra Leone, building upon its business reform strategy programme for the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA), and in compliance with international standards, introduced the day to day management and operations of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) to a private sector through a competitive bidding process.
The Minister disclosed that in pursuance of the Government of Sierra Leone’s business reform strategy, Government through the National Commission for Privatization requested for proposals in this regard and six companies submitted bids for the implementation and management of the Cargo Tracking Note at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority.
He said following the evaluation of the proposals received, Transport and Ports Management Systems West Africa Sierra Leone (TPMS-WASL) emerged as the most responsive bidder and was contracted to deliver the project.
In his overview, the Minister said Cargo Tracking Notes (CTNs) were introduced following the September 11TH attack as a means of improving security around marine shipments and to create a system of verifying the contents of every cargo, and then tracking that cargo between ports.
He said every cargo travelling by sea must be issued with a CTN by an approved agent prior to departure. This agreement he said has created a licensed provider of the said service at the ports of Sierra Leone to conform to international laws.
The Minister cited the benefits that government would derive some of which included but not restricted to increased security by providing information on the movement of cargo throughout the international trade environment; improve the ability to monitor the flow of goods to and from the port; creates a more efficient system that saves time and money , while improving the quality of cargo monitoring; improve communication directly with customers and enable more exact cargo arrival time estimated; serves as a deterrent against theft and pilferage, thereby reducing cost; maintain the integrity of goods and the supply chain; control of drugs and other contraband substances from entering or leaving the port and a host of others.