The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) has declared its intention to embark on nationwide sensitisation programmes that educate importers and exporters to follow due clearance procedures in order to reduce and avoid demurrage payment at the port.
Tema Branch Manager of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Mrs. Monica Josiah, lamented that shippers pay huge demurrage at the port because they are not aware of demurrage after keeping their goods at the port for more than the first seven (7) or 14 days grace period.
She revealed importers and exporters paid over US$70million demurrage in 2017, and this according to her can be avoided if importers and exporters have the basic knowledge at their fingertips.
Mrs. Monica Josiah brought this to light in an interview with the B&FT during the GSA Tema branch maiden get-together with the media in Tema.
“The average person cannot clear goods at the port in 7 days, so what can we do to let people clear goods within the mandatory 7 days? Sensitisation – and one of the key areas we are tackling is demurrage, because we realise that Ghanaians are paying so much demurrage.
“This year, one key thing the GSA will do is sensitisation; we want to go out there at the doorsteps of shippers and engage service providers, discussing issues of relevance to their import and export.”
According to Mrs. Josiah, the GSA is taking the demurrage message to shippers because it is an avoidable cost.
“I don’t think Ghana should be paying anything on demurrage, but we also have to put our house in order by doing the right thing as importers and exporters and players to reduce it”.
Mrs. Josiah noted the GSA is hoping that by the end of 2018 the figure would have gone down significantly.
According to her, this can only be sustained if they continue to educate the importers and exporters as to what to do, and also let the agencies know that when they unduly delay their actions and inactions also unduly delay the clearance process; hence, they are actually causing the nation to lose so much.
She therefore urged service providers, especially agents to ensure they go about their processes more efficiently to help in the flow of clearance so that people will not have to pay more in demurrage.
“When we are able to cut down cost of doing shipping business in the logistics chain, I believe the benefits translate to all of us. Because the things we import and the raw materials for our export are lower, certainly, we will be more competitive on the mobile market. We will go to the market and buy things cheaper, which helps in our economic development.”