Graphic Business News

Shippers fume over new charges

By: Maclean Kwofi
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Ghana Maritime Authority is taking steps to sanitise the industry with an upwards adjustment of its fees and charges
Ghana Maritime Authority is taking steps to sanitise the industry with an upwards adjustment of its fees and charges

THE Ghana Maritimae Authority (GMA) is mooting an increment in charges collected at the ports, in what could lead to fees paid by shipping lines and their agents increasing from US$200 to US$2,000.

Although the figures are yet to be gazetted, shippers their stakeholders are already up in arms against the proposed adjustment in the fees and charges by the regulator.

They have registered their displeasure with the quantum of adjustment made, the regulator insists the review is appropriate since the last review carried out was about five years ago.

The adjustment was tabled before stakeholders in a crunch meeting on Wednesday, October 25 at the premises of the GMA in

Under the review, freight forwarders who presently pay US$200 annually are expected to cough up US$2,000 every year to renew their operating licenses as shipping service providers.

Licensing of ship chandlers, which is presently US$200, has been separated into off-shore ship chandlers and smaller ship chandlers and they are to pay US$10,000 and US$500 respectively.

Shipping agents and shipping line agents are to pay US$ 6,000 instead of the present US$200 both are paying to the regulator annually. The levy on private marine surveyors has also increased from US$100 to US$500.

Licensing and registration for stevedoring companies by Ghanaians and those of foreign natives have been pegged at US$2,000 and US$10,000 respectively.

Although the regulator has tabled the review to stakeholders, it is to be subjected to adjustment before it is accepted and subsequently gazetted.   

Shippers’ displeasure

However, the adjustment obviously did not go down well with most stakeholders at the meeting who vehemently registered their displeasure with the proposed increment.

A Councilor from the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Mr Augustine Donkor, said at the meeting that freight forwarders were not comfortable with the increment at all.

“The US$2,000 increase for freight forwarders is in bad taste and we really cannot tell what amounted to this in the first place.

“We thought that the authority would at least engage us before making this proposal but nothing of such happened, and we are now being told of an increase from US$200 to US$2,000,” he bemoaned.

Mr Donkor explained that a stakeholder consultation about the proposal fees or charges by the regulator would have helped iron out any possible misunderstanding.

The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Mr Samson Awingobit Asaki, also pleaded for a review in the proposed fees and charges, especially that of the freight forwarders.

“Though shippers are behind the authority for introducing reforms, we believe that such increment is inimical to the survival of the business of many freight forwarders in the country.

“I will rather appeal to the authority to look at the figures again so that the necessary adjustment and suggestions are incorporated. I also appeal to consult with the various associations in its quest to bring sanity to the industry,” he said.

Mandate of GMA

The Director-General of the GMA, Mr Kwame Owusu, at the meeting said the authority by law had been mandated to carry out a periodic review of its fees and charges.

He stated that the review was part of efforts made by the regulator to sanitise the maritime industry from unscrupulous agents who tarnish the image of genuine agents at the ports.

Mr Owusu said if an agent or a freight forwarder could not pay US$2,000 per year to renew his or her license, then that person in question was not fit to be in business.

“As a regulator of the maritime industry, we want to ensure that things are done properly for that benefit of all stakeholders.”