Shippers cut cocoa exports freight by 9.4 per cent

Accra, Oct. 1, GNA -The Ghana Shippers
Authority and shippers ferrying Ghana’s cocoa exports to Europe have agreed to
cut their freight charges by 9.4 per cent for the 2018/2019 cocoa season.

The reduction in the freight rate became
necessary because of the about 40 per cent drop in cocoa prices on the world
market in the 2017/18 season.

Ms Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), told journalists that
shippers would receive £35 per tonne down from £39 as charges for shipment to
the United Kingdom (UK) and other European countries.

She was speaking at the end of a three-day
cocoa freight negotiation conference which was held for the first time in
Ghana.

However, Ms Bismarck said because of the
volatility of oil prices and other related carrier charges, the bunker
adjustment factor (BAF) was increased by 25 per cent.

“We looked at all the proposals that were
submitted to us in the light of what is happening on the global scene. A lot of
them were asking for a 30 per cent increase in the BAF but we thought we should
meet them halfway by increasing it by 25 per cent,” she explained.

Other conditions of shipments agreed on during
the negotiations include supply dressing materials, position empty containers
at the cocoa stuffing areas and bear lift on and lift off cost.

The Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), on the
other hand, would carry out the dressing and stuffing of containers, delivery
of full boxes to named places and terminals and fumigation of empty laden containers.

The Managing Director of the CMC, Mr Joe
Forson, said the cut in the freight rates would save the country millions of
dollars.

“We ship around 700,000 tonnes annually and so
we were able to leverage on that to bring the freight down by 9.4 per cent,” he
said.

In a communiqué the parties agreed that the
delivery of allocation letters to shipping lines be expedited to minimise
delays and associated costs to make for quicker and more efficient shipment.

It also recommended that the shipment of cocoa
is prioritised by the GPHA and that in the medium to long-term, dedicated
berths should be allocated for cocoa shipments.

The communiqué again recommended that the GSA
should facilitate engagements with the GPHA and other relevant industry
stakeholders to address issues related to the shipment of cocoa.

GNA

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