The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana are appealing to the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) to regulate stevedoring charges by shipping lines in the country.
Their call is premised on what they descroibed as the exorbitant charges imposed on them by shipping lines when they dock in the country.
“These local handling charges as we call it, comes after paying freight charges and after the huge investments in local stevedoring from the Meridian Port Services (MPS) and the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA) which is included in the freight charges we already paid for,” Mr Asaki Samson Awingobit, the Executive Secretary of the association told the Graphic Business in an interview at Tema last Wednesday.
He saidt freight charges have not been rosy for importers adding that the problem have been exacerbated by high charges from shipping lines.
“After Covid, we are paying freight between $7,000 to $14,000 per ship and it could be more depending on where the ship is coming from,” he stated.
He revealed that due to the high charges by these shipping lines, many local importers have relocated to Togo and Cote D’Ivoire which charges less or no extra amount after freight charges to ensure their goods are affordable in the Ghanaian market.
“These hefty charges by these shipping lines which is mandatory, forces importers to price their goods very high which affects the Ghanaian buyer and consumer,” he stated.
Mr Awingobit asked the Ministry of Transport to amend the Ghana Shippers Regulation Legislative Instrument (LI) (2190) which regulates shipping lines in the country to ensure a fixed amount to be paid when shipping lines dock in the country.
“If these infractions keep going on, then prices of goods and services will keep rising in the country and the consumer will bear the brunt of this injustice,” he stated.
Meanwhile the association has kicked against the 15 percent VAT on electricity proposed by the government saying it will largely affect the cost of doing business by members.
He noted that importers and exporters make use of electricity both at home and at their offices.