Business News of Friday, 2 September 2016
The Ministry of Transport has ruled against the introduction of the Terminal Handling Charges at Ghana’s ports.
A statement issued and signed by the Minister of Transport, Fiifi Kwetey said, “Terminal Handling Charges (THC) cannot be introduced at the ports in Ghana as a local charge.”
It added, “Terminal Handling Charges may be introduced as part of the freight payable by the shipper at the port of origin in accordance with the appropriate INCOTERMS.”
The directive is expected to bring to rest, the numerous agitations that has persisted among shipping companies, importers and freight forwarders.
The verdict by the sector minister comes after the Ghana Maritime Authority submitted its report to the Transport Ministry following the initial suspension of the implementation of the THC at the ports on August 10th, this year.
Various business associations, since the beginning of August this year, have made several complaints to resist the introduction of the charges.
The President of the AGI, James Asare Adjei has stated that the continuous imposition of the charges is causing importers and shippers about 78 million dollars more as extra costs, annually.
Though the Ministry ordered the suspension, some importers have cited shipping companies such as MSC Shipping as defying the order.
Though Fiifi Kwetey admits that “shipping companies are at liberty to increase their freight rates in accordance with the increased operational costs,” he explains that Ghana’s trade systems do not create avenues for the imposition of the THC.
“No new service has been introduced by the shipping companies at the ports in Ghana to wrrant a new charge such as the THC.”
Other issues justifying the dismissal of the THC and outlined by the Transport Minister include;
That there are a number of cost elements, including stevedoring cost that culminate in the freight price that is quoted by shipping lines.
The trade in Ghana has always had an all-in-freight (which includes stevedoring, costs) paid by shippers.