Despite a directive given by President John Mahama to shipping lines to halt the Terminal Handling Charges (THC), Citi Business News has gathered that the fee is still being charged at the Tema port.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark one year of the implementation of the Single Window Project last Friday, President Mahama warned shipping lines to stop charging the THC since it had no legal basis.
His warning came after the shipping lines disregarded an earlier directive from the Minister of Transport asking shipping lines to cease the charges.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asaki Awingobit alleged that the shipping lines have defied the president’s directive.
“I can confidently, authoritatively tell you that as at Saturday some shipping lines were still collecting Terminal Handling Charges. As they have grossly disrespected the Minister of Transport’s directive, they have done the same thing to the president’s directive,” he lamented.
Recounting several complains received over the weekend due to the THC, Mr. Awingobit stated that some shipping lines blatantly disregarded the directive, maintaining that they have not yet received the instruction.
“That is a canker, having said that let me be emphatic I have had a complain that MSC Shipping line on Saturday was charging THC when importers protested that the president spoke on Friday that no one should pay THC,” he said.
Business Association to monitor
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson for the Business Association, Adobea Asiama-Aboagye also told Citi Business News it has communicated the directive to its members to resist the THC.
According to her, shipping lines have no option but to abide by the directive since it has no legal standing.
“Even as at Friday evening 6:00 pm, it looks as if shipping lines did not really even know that the president has made a pronouncement on it. So we still take that as pre-presidential intervention,” she said.
She however stated that the association will help enforce the directive.
“But from today we are motoring to see, we have told our shippers that they shouldn’t pay not even under protest, they shouldn’t pay. I think the president’s word is good enough for us to work with,” she said
Business Associations protest THC
Eleven key business organizations in the country— AGI, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Union of Traders Association, Private Enterprise Federation, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters, Ghana Root Crops and Tubers Exporters Union, Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Food and Beverage Association of Ghana, Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana and Custom Brokers Association of Ghana have called for sanctions against all shipping lines that flouts the directive.
Earlier five shipping lines— MSC Ghana, PIL Ghana, CMA CGM Ghana, Maersk Ghana and Intermodal Shipping Agency Ghana were reported to be still charging the fees and flouting the Minister’s directives.
Shipping lines deny accusation
Meanwhile the Ship Owners and Agents Associations of Ghana have rejected assertions that they are flouting a directive not to charge Terminal Handling Charges.
According to the Vice President of the association, Adam Imoro Ayarna, its members are law abiding and will not act contrary to the laws of Ghana.
Speaking on Citi FM’s consumer show “Business Today” Vice Mr. Ayana called on the business associations to be calm as their doors were open for discussion around the issue.
By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana