Members of a group, which calls itself Occupy Shippers have expressed their frustration over a new process being introduced by the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), which according to them, could increase the cost of doing business at Ghanaian ports.
Occupy Shippers is made up of members from the Concern Freight Forwarders, Customs House Agents and Business Community.
Members of the group said the Advance Shipping Information (ASI), which simply means advance shipping information about pending deliveries or containers, before they finally arrive in the country could add more cost to the already high priced transaction at our ports.
According to them, “Advance Shipping Information is bogus, thus it will increase the burden of cost and delay in the clearance processes to importers, exporters and consumers”.
The group was of the view that should the GSA be allowed to implement the ASI, shippers in Ghana will eventfully increase every cost they may incur and pass it on the importer who will also push it on to the final consumer.
They hinted that when the ASI is allowed to become operational, importers might be forced to channel their imports through neighboring countries and clear them by land.
“Besides, our harbor will be deserted, which will result in revenue loss to the state and a lot of job losses to a country who is already fighting unemployment”, the group noted.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the group to pour out their grievances, Chairman for the group, Mr. Dennis Amfo Sefah said the benefits envisaged by the GSA are non-factual and that the move by the Shipping Authority is a ploy to amass wealth, and also increase the cost of doing business in Ghana ports.
Mr. Amfo Sefah explained that Ghana has not adopted a pre-clearance system and even if that should happen it would not be initiated by the GSA.
He continued that, the destination inspection companies are performing the same duties as the GSA is purporting to embark upon, saying documents of imports are always sent to the Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) for the issuance of valuation certificates (FCVR).
He stated that, “All the countries mentioned by the GSA as practicing Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) have so many challenges and are operating on different platforms adding that most of these countries do not operate destination inspection as well as the GCNET system.
He further stated that the exorbitant ASHI charges will add to the already high cost of doing business in the country adding that will be a repetition of processes, which are already in existence, and could derail plans of the GSA to amass wealth and add more cost dimensions to the cost of doing business in Ghana.
“GSA is making a lot of money from the importers and exporters from the ports of Tema, Takoradi, KIA, Aflao and Paga among others for no work done”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Executive secretary for the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Awringobet Sampson A Sackey, has warned that if the new process is not withdrawn by the 4th of next month, the Association will ensure that “No agent pays any levy” at our ports.
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