Arbitrary and illegal shipping charges frustrating port affairs – Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, GUTA
Some stakeholders in the import and export industry have described the skyrocketing arbitrary shipping charges in Ghana as a state of emergency.
Without mince words, members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, the Ghanaian Traders Association (GUTA) and other trade organizations have said the country will be in crisis if the government does not step in to address the issue. the situation.
At a press conference in Tema, the chairman of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Edward Akrong detailed some areas that add to the cost of doing business in a country that is already heavily dependent on imports.
Administrative costs, counting costs for days without containers, exchange rate discrepancies, container depots and agent blacklisting, he said, lead to high business transaction costs.
Again, inappropriate fees and charges borne by importers, additional charges for using online payments, coded invoices among others, have not helped the business community.
Supporting his argument, Mr. Akrong said that Section 44 (5) of the 2009 Interpretation Act ACT 729 resolves the confusion over how days should be counted with respect to days without a container, but the Shipping company actions contradict the law with enforcement agencies such as the Ghana Shippers Authority watching helplessly.
“What is the rationale for a shipping agent to start counting free days for the merchant when the box is not available to the merchant’s agent?” “
“Shipping companies intentionally start counting sometimes when ships have not fully unloaded their cargo without resorting to the law,” he added.
Currently, Ghana finds itself in a situation where shipping companies are accused of ransoming the country with surcharges.
Although there have been several engagements with state agencies, the struggle with the lines has dragged on for decades.
In this regard, Mr. Edward Akrong indicated that the country has the highest port charges in the sub-region.
“The fees in this country are outrageous. In Nigeria, there is an armed wing of their Shipping Council that descends on any shipping company that seeks rents or breaks the law, ”he explained.
He blamed the development on the sheer lack of will on the part of the authorities.
For his part, the chairman of the Ghana Traders Union Association, Dr Joseph Obeng, said businesses are losing capital on a daily basis due to these charges.
“The freight costs are built into the operating costs and we are not going to allow the lines to duplicate the costs. It is a sovereign nation and these multinationals must be controlled.
“A trader was supposed to pay $ 15,000.00 in freight for a 40-foot container on Tuesday, but that had climbed to $ 20,000.00 on Wednesday.
“For the business world, any additional costs incurred are passed on to the end consumer, thus increasing the cost of living,” he added.