Adnan Adams Mohammed
Almost all stakeholders of port and harbour businesses, with exception of regulatory bodies, are against the newly increased port tariffs by shipping lines.
Members of the Freight Forwarders Association, one of the main stakeholders of port businesses, have sent a strong signal that it will seek legal redress if the Ghana Shipper’s Authority does not stop shipping lines from increasing port charges on cargo.
According to the concerned groupings including traders associations, the increment by the shipping lines which took effect last week is unlawful and therefore must be withdrawn.
“We’re appealing to the Shippers Authority to issue a statement and per information reaching us, they have done that. We are hoping that by the close of the day or two days we are going to hear a positive sign of it. If they refuse, then our earlier submission saying we will go to court, we shall go to court and for the first time, that will resist shipping lines from increasing these charges for importers”, Chairman of the Association, Oheneba Kwasi Afamoah said while addressing the media.
“So if they don’t adhere to our directives or the shipper’s authority directives, concerned Freight Forwarders will go to court.”
Also, the Ghana Union Traders Association has asked their members to disregard the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority’s recently increased tariffs.
The tariff adjustment only targets shipping lines other than importers or exporters directly.
It applies to stevedoring, cranage and terminal handling (empty container) and containerised cargo for port dues.
The tariffs are to increase to 16.81 per cent for 40-footer container and 15.74 per cent for 20-footer container on the average.
According to the GHPA, the tariff adjustment will enable it to generate more revenue.
The revenue will be used to settle secured loans to build the Terminal Three of the Tema Port and other infrastructure.
However, GUTA and the other aggrieved groups said in a joint statement: “We have absolutely no doubts in our minds that the so-called increment in P.A.S by the shipping lines has no legal backing, no authorisation and, therefore, should be disregarded”.
The groups said: “We are calling on the Shippers Authority to do the needful by applying the necessary provisions in its regulations which states as per Clause 11, ‘A shipping Service provider that administers a charge for a service that the shipping service provider renders to a shipper without having negotiated that charge with the Authority shall pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of not more than Two Hundred penalty units and in the case of a continuing action, an additional administrative penalty of Ten penalty units for each day during which the action continues after written notice has been served on the offender by the Authority’”.
“By this release, we are entreating all exporters, importers, freight forwarders and all our partners within the logistics supply chain to disregard the notices of any increases commencing today, March 1, 2021”, the statement said.