The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana has welcomed the Minister of Transport’s decision not to allow shipping companies operating in the country to impose the Terminal Handling Charges (THC) at the ports.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Association, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit, the shipping companies have no justification to charge the fees.
“This is welcoming news from the advocacy’s perspective as we tried to let the minister understand our position with the introduction of the terminal handling charge at the ports. In our view, the shipping lines are not adding any value or anything new to the services they were already rendering to the Ghanaian shippers and importers,” he stated.
Sampson Asaaki Awingobit also contends that the THC at Ghana’s ports is currently being handled by the Ports and Harbours Authority together with its allied and appointed agencies.
“The shipping lines don’t do any terminal handling at the country’s ports because the GPHA receives the vessel at the port and hands it over to a company which they have appointed to do the evacuation of the cargo or the containers,” he explained.
“If the containers are to go to CCT they also have their own trucks and drivers who come to carry the containers away. So my question is which service they are charging for,” he further argued.
The comments of the importers and exporters comes after the Transport Ministry on Friday ruled against the introduction of the Terminal Handling Charges at Ghana’s ports.
A statement issued and signed by the sector minister, Fiifi Kwetey indicated that, “Terminal Handling Charges (THC) cannot be introduced at the ports in Ghana as a local charge.”
It added, “Terminal Handling Charges may be introduced as part of the freight payable by the shipper at the port of origin in accordance with the appropriate INCOTERMS.”
The directive is expected to bring to rest, the numerous agitations that has persisted among shipping companies, importers and freight forwarders.
The verdict by the sector minister comes after the Ghana Maritime Authority submitted its report to the Transport Ministry following the initial suspension of the implementation of the THC at the ports on August 10th, this year.
Various business associations, since the beginning of August this year, have made several complaints to resist the introduction of the charges.
Meanwhile Mr. Awingobit has urged the ministry to punish any shipping line that fails to heed the minister’s directive.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana