The Ghana Shippers’ Authority in Takoradi has organised a one-day seminar for shippers and stakeholders in the shipping industry on how to avoid demurrage and rent at the Port. Participants were taken through the practical ways to avoid demurrage in their shipping transactions.
Ms. Benonita Bismarck, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority in her welcome address said avoiding demurrage or excesses as a result of delay in the clearance of goods is one of the key targets businessmen and women in international trade should be focused to reduce cost burden and increase productivity.
She disclosed that last year alone, over US$75 million was paid as demurrage at Ghana’s ports with an estimated GH¢ 48 million paid over the same period as port rent.
She stressed that major cost item was container demurrage which continue to pose serious drain on the capital of import and export businesses adding, “the high cost of doing business remains one of the biggest disincentive to the growth international trade in Ghana”.
Miss Benonita noted that efficiency in port operation and the entire transport logistics chain was critical to delivering value to the businessmen and lauded the commitment by the President to reduce the cost of doing business at the country’s seaports through bold initiatives and interventions in the cargo clearance processes to bring some reliefs to shippers.
Mr. Peter Amoo-Bediako of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) who spoke on the topic, “How to Minimise Port Storage Cost” argued that Port storage charges also known as rent charges are very legitimate charges by any Port Authority to cater for the storage of commodities in the port prior to shipment or delivery.
According to him, port charges are not to negatively affect trade through the ports but rather to support trade in that high port storage charges can collapse businesses
He disclosed that about 85% of importers who face challenges at the Port are small scale entities who are totally ignorant of requirements, rules and regulations governing trade.
He called on importers to employ the services of a professional freight forwarder who can then keep an eye on the shipment and ensure that their cargo arrives in time to avoid any additional costs, produce genuine documents and identify if there are any special requirements for the import of their cargo which may be held by customs or other authorities.
Mr. Amoo-Bediako further called on importers to ensure clear and regular communication with their shipper and the shipping line about the status of the shipping documents and the shipment respectively since shipping lines generally do not accept liability for non-notification of cargo’s arrival.
He cautioned that exemption is not automatic and must be supported with relevant documents from relevant agencies, and that they should share cargo and shipment delivery instructions with all parties including the carrier, vendors and third-party providers in advance for a smooth loading and unloading process and to avoid any delays.
Story: From Seth Ameyaw DANQUAH, TAKORADI, WESTERN REGION