PRIME Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, MP has commissioned the new mobile X-ray machine for the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) at the international seaport at Point Cruz.
“Today Solomon Islands join only a few countries in the Pacific that have installed X-ray technologies in their ports of entry to assist ports, customs, biosecurity and quarantine authorities detect organic substances like narcotics, explosives, contraband items, weapons and undeclared goods hidden in different forms.”
With a cost of $16 million, the X-ray machine is the first of its kind in any ports in the country.
“In this regard, let me congratulate the Chairman and the CEO of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority for the vision that underpinned this investment which will provide huge benefits to customs and agricultural quarantine and biosecurity,” he stated.
Further, in his congratulatory note, the Prime Minister also acknowledged the CEO and Chairman of SIPA “for taking our country to a new era in enhancing the efficiency and security of our port operations in Honiara through this magnificent X-ray technology.”
Prime Minister Sogavare took the opportunity to highlight some of the features of the x-ray equipment stating that the X-ray technology has automatic alert systems to detect organic material, which can provide high levels of detailed information to customs and biosecurity officials.
“It will enable Solomon Ports and Customs Division of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury to undertake non-intrusive inspection of cargo imports and exports packed in shipping containers to detect cargo that falls under a high risk classification at Honiara International sea port,” he stated.
According to the Prime Minister, the new technology will facilitate legitimate trade and compliance with our Customs laws it will also assist Customs and biosecurity officials in executing their border protection mandates and facilitate efficient and timely revenue collection on behalf of the government.
With the new mobile x-ray scanner, cargoes will be scanned and identified through Customs assessed intelligence by the Risk Management teams from which results will enable officers to make decisions on.
“This new technology will reduce the time needed to check containers and hasten their release to business houses.”
“It maximises security and revenue collection through the use of unobtrusive examination technology.”
The new technology also acts as a deterrent to importers or exporters who may attempt to breach the country’s laws and regulations.
Prime Minister Sogavare also expressed his confidence “that the technology will greatly assist the efficiency and effectiveness of our port operations, the revenue collection by our customs officers and also strengthen our biosecurity capabilities.”
He also believes the x-ray technology needs to be expanded to other international ports in the country in due course.