Ghana tells importers, exporters not to pay terminal handling charges to shipping lines

Importers and exporters who transact business at the ports of Ghana have been advised not to pay Terminal Handling Charges (THC) introduced by some shipping lines.

This follows a directive issued by the Transport Minister, Fiifi Kwetey-MP , to the shipping lines to that effect after a consultative meeting was held between the ministry and the various parties to the THC.

This was contained in a press release signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Seth Twum-Akwaboah signed for and on behalf of all members of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Union of Traders Association, Private Enterprise Federation, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters, Ghana Root Crops and Tubers Exporters Union, Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders.

“We the coalition of Associations remain resolute in collective solidarity and will strongly resist any attempt by any Shipping Line to impose such THC.

“The cupidity as demonstrated by the Shipping Lines to exploit Shippers (importers and exporters) is unfortunate and we expect all parties to respect the Honourable Minister’s directive,” the release stressed.

The AGI boss described the terminal handling charges as illegal because it has been abolished in Ghana by the Ministry of Transport.

According to him, any imposition of the charges by any shipping line in the face of government’s directive constitutes an infringement of the sovereign rights of the business community in Ghana, thus “any attempt by any shipping line to impose the THC or hold shippers’ cargo unduly must quickly be brought to the notice of the respective association with some evidence”.

The release further calls on government to apply deterring sanctions against any shipping line that flouts the directive .

Twum-Akwaboah commended the transport minister and his team for intervening to stop the arbitrariness by ensuring sanity in the maritime industry.

In an interview with the chairperson of the Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee (GARSC), Adobea Asiamah Aboagye, she expressed her delight about the directive on abolishing the charges.

She said the cost of doing business at the port is already high and the upholding of the unjustifiable THC by the shipping lines was going to have more negative effects on the cost of running businesses that are directly or indirectly affected by the operations of the port.

Source: Ghana Web.

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