Ghanaian importers within a period of ten years paid a total of US$382 million (GHC1.910 billion) at an exchange rate of GHC5.00 per dollar, in the form of demurrages to shipping lines outside the country.
A Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) research data indicates that in 2010 about US$40 million was paid; in 2013 the figure jumped to US$85 million; moving still upward in 2016 to US$95 million; but dropped marginally to US$76 million in 2017; moving downwards still in 2018 to US$59 million and in 2019 dropped to US$27 million.
Mr. Fred Asiedu Dartey, Head of Freight and Logistics, Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), has therefore described as national economic bane the consistent payment of demurrages by Ghanaian importers to shipping lines.
Mr Asiedu-Dartey was speaking at the fifth, “GNA-Tema Stakeholder Engagement and Workers’ Appreciation Day,” seminar at the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency, which is a progressive media caucus platform created to give opportunity to state and non-state actors to interact with journalists and address national issues.
The event also serves as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters to the professional growth and promotion of the GNA Tema Regional Branch as the industrial news hub, while contributing to national development.
Explaining the typical schedule for container demurrage, Mr Asiedu-Dartey noted that the first seven days of the arrival of a container is free, and encouraged importers to take advantage of the period to clear their goods.
He said however from the eighth to the 14 days the importer pays US$22.00 (GHC110.00) per day for a 20 footer container and US$44.00 (GHC220.00) for a 40 footer container; from the 15th to the 21st day, the charge moves up sharply as the importer would pay US$35.00 (GHC175.00) per day for 20 footer container and US$70.00 (GHC350.00) for a 40 footer container.
He said after 21 days, the charge for 20 footer container is pegged at US$48.00 (GHC240.00) daily and US$96.00 (GHC480.00) for a 40 footer container.
On the underlying causes, Mr Asiedu-Dartey said the GSA has identified a number of issues including; bureaucratic operational procedures, system issues – changes in cargo clearance platforms; and delays at the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB).
Others include; delays in exemption or permit processing, questionable professional competence of some Clearing Agents, errors in declarations
cash flow issues, and deliberate delay for ulterior motives.
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