Business News of Monday, 10 July 2017
An estimated amount of 100 million dollars is paid as container demurrage every year by shippers to shipping lines operating at various ports in the country.
Demurrage is the penalty paid for delay of a ship or freight cargo beyond its scheduled time of departure, usually seven days time period in Ghana.
The situation according to the Ghana Shippers Authority contributes to the high cost of imported goods, congestion at the port, excessive loss of revenue, inefficiencies at the port among others.
Also frequent system breakdown, delays from service providers, bureaucratic operational procedures, and unreliable clearing agents among others are some but major causes of the container demurrage at the port.
Statistics indicate that over 80 percent of consignees are unable to clear their cargos at the port within the 7 days allowable time resulting in container demurrage.
As a measure to cut down the increasing demurrage cost, which according to industry players is killing businesses, the West African branch of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) Tuesday held a seminar in Accra to find ways to cut down container demurrage within the West African sub-region.
Chairman of the West African branch of the ICS, Fred Asiedu-Dartey, called for more pragmatic measures to address the issue for the benefit of industry players in the maritime trade and transport business.
“One hundred million dollars in terms of container demurrage which goes out of this country every year charged by shipping lines can do a lot for the country looking at the pressures on the cedis. I will not fear to say that lack of political will has also contributed to this grave situation” Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah, stated at the seminar.
He continued “we have made several recommendations which we believe the government is going to put into immediate practice for the benefit of the country.”
Among the recommendations made to President, Nana Akufo-Addo is the proposal for insurance companies to pay demurrage for their shipping clients.
Immediate past Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Dr. Kofi Mbiah, for his part called for more concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the maritime trade and transport industry to cut down the cost of doing business at the port.
He recommended sensitization programs for stakeholders, full automation of clearance procedures and more use of technologies than human efforts as means to lessen the burden of shippers and also improve revenue generation.