The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has said that it has not suspended demurrage – fees paid for overstayed containers – and rent charges at the port, due to outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
According to the GPHA, all operations at the port are going on as usual apart from measure that have been instituted to reduce the number of people who can enter the port to help in the respecting of the social distancing protocol.
General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs of GPHA, Esther Gyebi–Donkor told the B&FT in an interview that, matters have not reached the extent where restriction will be put on non-essential cargo which will require modalities to suspend the charging of demurrage and rent.
“There shouldn’t be issues of demurrage and rent at this time. There was a business continuity plan that was put in place. For now, we are clearing all kinds of cargo, so those whose documentations are ready to clear good should go through the permit system with Customs and GPHA and get the goods cleared,” she said.
She added that, with proper documentation, clients should be given a pass by security agencies at various barriers to get to the port. “Once you have our ID, the Customs and GPHA permit which shows that you have some duties at the port, you will be given access to pass” Mrs. Gyebi–Donkor said.
The GPHA says, as much as possible, it wants the port to be free and not have issues of congestion, therefore, it has entreated all persons whose goods have arrived at the port and have received documentation, to come clear them as early as possible to avoid paying demurrages.
“It is better you clear it from the port, free yourself and free the port so you do not pay any demurrage. Come for the good, if they are food, you can take them to the market and sell as the directive has said; if the goods are not captured under the directives, go and keep them in your warehouse,” she added.
Ggyabi-Donkor said all is being done to ensure that less number of people enter the port for any operation. As a result, freight forwarders have been asked to entreat importers not to follow them into the port.
A COVID-19 permanent permit pass has been instituted by port authorities to be given to essential stakeholders only. The pass is being issued by the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the GPHA.
“We are doing well to also regulate the people who enter the port. If we have 12 passes available for a day, we ensure that only 12 people enter the port. At the management level, many departments are operating from home and for the very essential officials that have to show physical presence, we are allowing only one or two people in the office; so we are doing all we can to keep same.”
Source: B&FT Online
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