Ms Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority has urged Businessmen and women to avoid demurrage or excesses as a result of delay to reduce cost burden and increase productivity.
“If your profitability and competitiveness within the market space is to be guaranteed in the medium to long term as shippers, then it is imperative to give attention to rent and demurrage which continue to increase cost factors in exports and imports”.
The CEO was addressing a section of shippers on how to avoid demurrage at Takoradi in the Western Region.
Last year alone, more than US$75 million was paid as demurrage at Ghana’s ports with an estimated GH¢48 million paid over the same period as port rent.
Ms Bismarck said major cost item was container demurrage, which continued to pose serious drain on the capital of import and export businesses, “the high cost of doing business remain one of the biggest disincentive to the growth of international trade in Ghana”.
According to the CEO, demurrage and port rent were avoidable if shippers and consignees would clear their goods on time and within the seven days free period given by Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority.
She pointed out that efficiency in port operation and the entire transport logistics chain was critical to deliver value to the businessmen.
Ms Bismarck therefore lauded the commitment by the President to reduce the cost of doing business at the country’s seaports through bold initiatives and interventions in the cargo clearance processes to bring some reliefs to shippers.
Mr Peter Amoo Bediako, Marketing Officer of the GPHA who gave the Port’s perceptive on the subject matter said Port storage charges also known as rent charges were legitimate charges by any Port Authority to cater for the storage of commodities in the port prior to shipment or delivery adding, “They are not charged to negatively affect trade through the ports but rather to support trade”.
According to him, such charges accounted for 30 to 40 percent of the total revenues of ports around the globe.
In Ghana, any delay after the seven days grace period attracts between GH¢5.00 to GH¢24.00 with rent charges starting from GH¢16.00 to GH¢92.00 depending on the number of days.
Mr Bediako said some essential things the shipper could do to avoid excess rent charges and demurrage was to employ the services of a professional freight forwarder who could monitor the shipment to ensure that cargo arrived on time to avoid any additional costs, identify special requirements for the import of the cargo which may be held by customs or other authorities, genuine documentation, clear and regular communication with shipper and the shipping line about the status of shipping documents and shipment .