Shippers in Ghana paid 76 million dollars as demurrage and rent in 2017, which the Ghana Shipper Authority (GSA) describes as an avoidable waste of resources.
Interacting with journalists in Tema, Mrs Monica Josiah, Tema Manager, Ghana Shippers Authority said, “The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) thus recommends and strongly advocates for shipper education to ensure shippers do the right thing by starting the clearance process before the vessel’s arrival, submission of genuine documents and availability of funds for the clearance process. It is also important to secure licenses and permits before cargo arrival.”
“Container demurrage has become a topical issue in the maritime sector owing to the huge amount it requires. Once a free time agreed on between the shipper and the line expires, container demurrage is applied. Depending on the shipping line involved, the allowable free days and charged rates vary.”
She said a study conducted by the GSA in 2016, revealed that over 85 per cent containerized imports go on demurrage and storage rent.
“A number of factors contribute to container demurrage which includes; Lack of poor information on vessel arrivals, lack of funds to clear cargo, declaration of inaccurate information, non- compliance with regulatory requirements and deliberate delay due to some ulterior motives,” she said.
According to her, some service providers also contributed immensely to the delays, which spans from bureaucratic shipping line’s operational procedures, unprofessional conduct of clearing agents and difficulties in locating containers at the terminals.
“The adverse impact of demurrage on the economy is the increased cost of living, dwindling profits and working capital of shippers. It could also affect sales volume of shippers due to higher product costs on the market and thus affecting competitiveness of Ghana’s exports,” she said.