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Seminar on Single Windows and Port Community Systems
Mon 24th Jul, 2017
09:40 GMT
Cotonou, Benin

As you are aware, the prime objective of a Port Authority is to provide, manage, operate and maintain port facilities in order to efficiently and cost effectively handle the country’s maritime trade in goods. In pursuit of this objective, the Port Authority works with and coordinates members of the port community to deploy relevant practices and tools for the overall facilitation of the passage of ships and goods through the ports.

Over time, the advent of information and communication technology (ICT) has invented various tools to help in digitization of trade processes and documentation which has led to faster, efficient and cost effective processing of ships and cargo clearance in ports.

The gains generated by ICT in terms of cost reduction, time savings, cargo clearance and trade processing efficiency in particular and trade facilitation in general, are well documented and supported by international organization including the United Nations, World trade organization, World Customs Organization, the World bank as well as various regional economic communities and commissions.

One of the proven ICT tools for trade facilitation has been the Single Window (SW), and for ports, the Port Community System (PCS). These are ICT platforms that converge all players in the port or trade documentation and clearance system to exchange relevant information, process relevant documentation, effect payments and clear cargoes through the port with zero or minimal physical human interaction. The SW and PCS concept has gained notoriety in the developed countries. But in Africa and the PMAWCA region, this concept is still being experimented and so far very few countries in Africa have a SW in place.

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