The Banjul Port has only one lifter and no scanning machine, The Progress Newspaper has gathered.
A source familiar with Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), the government agency responsible for the governance and maintenance of ports facilities in the country, told this reporter that Banjul Port having only one lifter to discharge cargo from ships is a very big problem considering that it is the only seaport in the country.
He said that importers now have to wait for long periods to receive their cargo from vessels. He claims that Ports officials receive money from some importers to help them beat the queue and facilitate the quick discharge of their cargo from the ships. “People have resorted to bribery for them to get their containers off the ships, which is sad, because the cost [of money paid as bribe] is passed on to the consumers,” he added.
Our source dilated on the security implications of a seaport operating without a scanner, which he described as very risky.
He said: “It will be very difficult for ports to notice unwanted goods in their vicinity because they are operating without a scanning machine. Ports scanning is one of the most popular forms of reconnaissance ahead of a hack, helping attackers determine which ports are most susceptible; the scanning can lead to a hacker entering your network or stealing proprietary data, so if the Gambia Ports Authority is operating without a scanning machine then the country will be at risk because no port in the world will operate in the absence of a scanning machine.
I was surprised that the port is operating with only one lifter and no scanning machine given the large amount of money they generate from its operations.”
He then appealed to the government of The Gambia through GPA to remedy the situation, stressing that the port cannot continue to operate with only on lifter and no scanning machine.
Meanwhile efforts by The Progress Newspaper to contact the GPA management to shed light on the issue proved futile, as our reporters were denied entry into the port by security officers at the main gate.