Shippers Authority clashes with importers over new shipping regulations


Some exporters and importers say they will resist new procedures introduced by the Ghana Shippers Authority for clearing their goods at the country’s ports. 

JOYBUSINESS gathers that the Authority is planning to introduce new clearing rules that will see firms submit their importers’ documents ahead for scrutiny prior to clearing for a fee from March 2015.

Chief Executive of the Shippers Authority Dr. Kofi Mbeah says the new procedure is in the interest of exports and importers.

“One of the causes of the delays…. is that while people have to obtain a permit they spend a long time in securing that permit while the ship has arrived at the port and it ends up attracting a demurrage”, he explained.

According the CEO, importers can now fast track the clearing process using Advanced Shipping Information.

“The whole idea is to enable importers to have advance information on their shipment [and] use that information to start pre-clearance processes ahead of time” so they can obtain a permit much earlier”.

However John Awuni who speaks for some of businesses that clear their goods at the ports, is unenthused about the new procedure.

He is convinced that the procedure will only be “re-introducing new hurdles” that will make clearing goods even more cumbersome.

According to his understanding, the new procedure means “you must surrender all your import documents to a particular institution for a fee. Who has appointed them? Who has requested that?”

A “shocked” Awuni told Joy News they will not comply with the directive. “They have their law but we will not obey it. We are very united on this one”, he vowed.

“While the Ministry of Trade is reducing duplications and hurdles at the port, people are maneuvering and re-introducing new hurdles. That is not acceptable”, he fumed.

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