Stop unnecessary port charges – Shipping lines urged
The Ghana House of Port Agents (GHOPA), a group of importers, has asked shipping companies at the Tema port to bring an end to excessive charges on imported goods.
According to the group, since the announcement of the abolition of the 1% Special Import Levy by the Akufo-Addo-led government, owners of shipping lines have introduced new charges at the port.
A statement issued by the group said: “On 2nd March, 2017, during the maiden budget statement of President Akufo Addo’s government presented by Hon Ken Ofori-Atta, we [GHOPA] developed a very strong confidence in the government, having the belief that some of the abolished taxes were going to help us unleash our fabulous policies to help redeem the image of businesses in our nation especially at the port in our various fields of work. Ever since those taxes were abolished, there have been a whole lot of unnecessary charges at the port by the shipping lines of which we [GHOPA] and the freight forwarders as well as the importers are not happy about.
“Some of those charges that we [GHOPA] believe are unnecessary are: cleaning of container charges, container security charges, demurrage on public holidays, Saturdays and Sundays. What saddens our hearts most is the fact that they don’t even work on weekends [Saturdays and Sundays] as well as on public holidays, meanwhile GPHA also charges on the same consignment (security fee)
“Again, shipping lines like CMA Line, Maersk Line, Pacific International Line (PIL), and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) always delay in issuance of their invoices especially when their system goes down and at the end of the day we are being charged for their own technical issues which caused the breakdown of their system. And their demurrage charges are too much. They charge as high as USD100 per day which we think is just too much.
“In conclusion, we the Ghana House of Port Agents [GHOPA] wish to convey through this press release that we are pleading with the government, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and other bodies concerned to do something to put an end to all the unnecessary charges at the shipping lines in a month else we will advise ourselves – either embarking on a massive demonstration against all the bodies including the government or the law court.”
In a subsequent interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Wednesday June 7, Prince Kofi Buamah, Public Relations Officer of the group, said: “We are appealing to the government to focus its attention on the shipping lines because they are hurting our businesses at the Tema port. We cannot trust the Shippers Council to deal with this issue because we have put several of our issues before them but they haven’t handled them properly.”
Ampadu Siaw, Secretary of the Secondhand Spare Parts Dealers Association, also commenting on the matter, commended the group for raising the matter.
Also speaking on the show, he said: “I will commend them, it is a fight that all of us must support because it affects us. The leadership of spare parts dealers will be meeting on this and see how we can also involve ourselves in this matter.
“As for Ghana Shippers Council, they are not serving our interests, they are serving their own interests because most of the issues that come before them are not addressed.”