A Port Automation and Digitisation (PAD) project at the Free Port of Monrovia is set to significantly improve customers supply chain efficiency and ease of doing business through paperless customs clearance processes and more efficient terminal operations. Over the past year the terminal already made significant inroads into digitisation, including online invoicing, issuing digital receipts based on data from real-time bank deposits, and online issue resolution.
After extensive consultations and engagements with stakeholders, the project, run jointly by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and APM Terminals Liberia will reaffirm the Free Port of Monrovia’s position as the gateway to the economy of Liberia and the Mano River Union.
At a ceremony to acknowledge the launch of the project, the Minister of Finance & Development Planning, Honourable Samuel Tweah, keynote speaker, commended APM Terminals Liberia and partners for this historic and transformative initiative.
“Digitizing the Port comes with numerous benefits to the economy in terms of ease of doing business,” said Hon. Tweah. “This development has the full endorsement and support of His Excellency President George Weah, whose policies has been focused on strengthening our economy to boost trade and business and create opportunities for all. It is in this light that I commend APM Terminals Liberia and partners for launching this initiative and for their collaboration in making sure that we achieve full success with Port Automation and Digitisation.”
Steps to digitize already taken
This previously manual process of submitting declarations, payments and customs releases has already been reduced significantly through digitisation over the past year. With full-scale automation and digitisation, the process is expected to be accelerated even further, saving productive hours and bringing convenience to both Custom Brokers and customers.
Honourable Minister of Commerce and Industry Mawine Diggs, also a keynote speaker, observed that this new and improved way of doing business at the Free Port will have a positive effect on trade and commercial activities in Liberia as importers are able to clear their goods in good time, less costly and get them onto the market.
Essential for Revenue Collection
Mr. Thomas Doe Nah, Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), implementing partner of the project, highlighted the importance of Port Automation and Digitisation (PAD) to the Authority’s mandate of revenue collection.
“As a key partner to this initiative, we are convinced about its potential to help us deal with loopholes and leakages often facilitated by human interventions so that we can maximize port revenue as we should” Mr. Nah remarked.
Jonathan Graham, Managing Director APM Terminals Liberia, which is spearheading the project, stressed the need for even stronger partnerships to successfully roll out the Port Automation and Digitisation project, adding that, “This is the only way that the Free Port of Monrovia will be able to transform into a modern port serving Liberia and the sub region.”
Speaking about the preparatory work done by the partners in the lead up to this launch, Technical Team Leader of the project for APM Terminals Liberia; and the Regional Customer Products & Services Lead in Africa, Middle East & Asia, Mr. Metus Freeman, said, “The various logistics, technical know-how and training have all been provided to ensure a smooth implementation. We have had several collaborative training sessions with Custom Brokers, Importers, MTS, Banks and LRA officials on the process. We have all worked diligently to provide the knowledge and tools needed to achieve maximum efficiency.”