With only a few days to the commencement of the increment of charges by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has called the move a rip-off.
The Association explains that it will be prudent to hold an emergency stakeholders’ engagement to prevent any disaffection that may cause agitations from shippers.
“We are calling for a stakeholders meeting for us to be able to talk to GHPA to stop implementing the new charges because we did not have enough stakeholder consultations in the first place, especially when we are not in normal times,” said President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng.
When the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) first announced the increment of tariffs and the upward adjustment of charges by the shipping lines, it was met with a lot of backlash from various stakeholders in the sector.
A lot of the affected stakeholders have attributed the lack of support for these exponential charges to the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their businesses.
For this reason, with only a few days to the commencement of the tariff increment, GUTA is demanding an emergency stakeholder meeting with the GPHA and Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana to prevent any agitations.
“If you recall, last year was not good for businesses. We went under a lockdown then we went through the elections and just when we are about to revamp our stocks and capital then the upsurge of the COVID has thrown the businesses into confusion.”
The association has also reiterated its call to relevant authorities to include operational and handling charges into the overall freight charges.
“The freight charges are also not helping. Freight charge of the 40 feet container which used to be 3,000 dollars will now be going for about 13,000 dollars. This is not the time for a port operator like GHPA to increase the handling charges and others especially when we expect the shipping lines to include all these operational charges in the freight charges, which they don’t do. This is why we are calling on Government to prevail upon, that, what the shipping lines are doing to us is not in good faith, because they don’t do it in other jurisdictions,” Dr. Obeng added.