Port Delay Costs Shippers $40m

Studies carried out by the Ghana Shippers� Authority have revealed that shippers pay about $40 million annually to shipping lines as demurrage charges as a result of delay in the clearance of their cargoes. It also stated that another $20 million is paid yearly as rent charges. Demurrage charges are those costs which are incurred when a container with cargo moors beyond the time stipulated for unloading or other purposes. Dr. Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority noted that implementation of the Electronic Cargo Tracking Note is expected to curtail the payment of these excessive charges, which make the Ghanaian shipper uncompetitive in the global marketplace. Dr. Mbiah disclosed this during the inauguration of the Shipper Complaints and Support Unit at the Kotoka International Airport. The Shipper Complaints and Support Unit will provide real time assistance to importers and exporters, help to cut down on the cost of doing business at the airport by shippers and increase their competitiveness. Dr. Mbiah noted that �in furtherance of trade facilitation, which is the cornerstone of the global trading system the Ghana Shippers� Authority, in collaboration with the USAID, has added to the Shipper Complaint and Support Unit at the Aflao border, a shipper information centre under the Borderless initiative of the USAID which will provide shippers with access to all information they require to enable them have a smooth transit through the border.� He bemoaned the misconception among a section of the populace that shipping only connotes transportation of cargoes by ships. �It needs to be stated that shipping involves the carriage of goods by all modes of transport and this has become even more pronounced in the era of increased technology, multimodalism and end to end logistics,� the Chief Executive emphasised. He added that the assistance and support offered to shippers by shippers� organizations transcend the port and ship interface and involve the provision of support services throughout the entire transport and logistics chain. He revealed that the Authority has positioned itself to provide a number of services to shippers throughout the entire logistics chain. He announced that soon Ghana will join 13 other countries working through their shippers� organizations in West and Central Africa to implement the Electronic Cargo Tracking System in Ghana. This, he indicated, would enable the Authority have real time access to detailed pre-arrival information on all shipments and thus improve upon its information dissemination services to shippers. Inaugurating the Complaints Unit, Collins Dauda, Minister of Transport stated that �in line with trade liberalization, Government as a matter of policy will continue to create the appropriate legal and institutional framework for the development of the transport industry to enhance the competitiveness of our shippers in the global market. He said to this end the Ministry of Transport would give urgent attention to the passage of the Ghana Shippers� Authority regulations which seeks to ensure a fair playing field for operators in the industry devoid of exploitation of shippers.� He however entreated stakeholders in the shipping industry to improve efficiency so as to reduce costs which are usually passed on to shippers.