In its efforts to establish Accra as a major hub of air freight in West Africa with periodic upgrade of infrastructure, the Ghana Airport Company has acquired an advanced air cargo scanner, “Eagle A25”, to be installed at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) cargo village.
The scanner, to be installed by the end of next month, will enhance the exposure of concealed items such as arms and ammunition, drugs and other prohibited goods being trafficked into the country.
It will serve the designated cargo handling operators, including Aviance Ghana, Swissport Ghana and AHS Menzies.
It is the brainchild of Nick TC-Scan Limited, a Ghanaian private firm operating scanners across the country’s sea and land borders for more than 20 years.
The General Manager of Nick TC-Scan Limited, Joojo Morrison, made this known last Monday when the Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond, paid a visit to the KIA.
Mr Hammond led a delegation from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) to tour the KIA and also the Tema Port.
The visit enabled the minister and his delegation to familiarise themselves with the operations at KIA and Meridian Port Services Limited (MPS), particularly trade facilitation related activities such as cargo scanning and the status of deployment of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).
Starting at exactly 10 a.m., the minister walked through to the scanning facilities at the cargo import and export sections located at Aviance Ghana, Swissport and Customs Unit at the cargo village and interacted with some staff of the agencies.
The tour continued until it ended at terminal two of the Tema Port at 6:30 p.m. after the minister visited MPS Tema Port and other agencies at the port.
The delegation was received by institutions such as the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), MPS and Nick TC Scan Limited.
Mr Morrison said the Eagle A25 scanner, which has enhanced detection features, was the first in the West African sub-region.
“This equipment is the first of its kind in the sub-region and it will replace the existing one at KIA which we think is a bit outmoded.
It will also be complemented by smaller scanners which are also state-of-the-art equipment,” he said.
He mentioned some of the features as having an enhanced level of detection of threats and contraband.
Also, it has an advanced X-ray system for scanning pallets and unit load devices (ULDs) to produce high quality images that help detect threats and contraband.
It enables fast loading and unloading of containers and pallets, and is safe for space constrained environments as it offers an enclosed, cabinet-style system that could be operated as a standalone unit or integrated into an automated air cargo handling system.
“The new scanner to arrive in Ghana by June 13, this year, was designed to meet the country’s specifications and can scan goods efficiently within a few minutes.
“It will be positioned strategically at the KIA cargo village as the main import scanner for imports coming into the country,” he said.
Beside KIA, the general manager told the delegation that Nick TC Scan was also in the process of installing different advanced scanners at the Takoradi Port, Paga and Hamile border points as part of measures to intensify efforts against importing contraband goods.
“We are securing two new scanners at the end of September, this year, and we are putting them at Paga and Hamile to seal off the two entries from Burkina Faso.
“We have also purchased a bidirectional scanner ready to be installed at Takoradi to boost scanning operations at the port,” he added.
Mr Hammond intimated that without advanced scanning facilities, a lot of things would have gone wrong, as any contraband item could have found its way into the country.
He expressed satisfaction on activities at both KIA and Tema Port, commending them for their efficiency and re-emphasising their strategic importance to trade.
“I have been here several times on different missions but today’s visit is to find out about the integrity and security of the facilities here and how business is transacted.
“And so, I am really impressed with the operations of Nick TC Scan at this point.
I have been told that a new scanner would be installed at the KIA cargo village within the next three weeks and we are happy about it,” the minister added.