The Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA) has waived all rent and related charges for transit cargo – goods bound for another country but discharged in Ghana – that overstayed at various transit yards due to challenges of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Several trucks with transit cargo that overstayed at GPHA yards, who were fined, now have the opportunity to go and file for refunds. The move, which was initiated by the Ghana Shippers Authority, is part of efforts to reduce the burden transit truck operators faced during the lockdown as a result of efforts to fight the outbreak of COVID-19.
The transit shippers petitioned the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) to push for some reliefs to cover the extra cost that befell their operations due to the lockdown.
A letter from the GSA addressed to the representatives, Transit Shippers’ Council said that, “admittedly, all shippers, including transit shippers have been affected by the state of affairs and have had to bear the brunt of the unintended consequences of the restrictions. This largely impeded their ability to expedite cargo clearance and related activities, notwithstanding the fact that internal and cross border movement of goods was exempted from the restriction.”
The statement added that, “we are glad to inform you that the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has graciously waived all rent and related charges (overstayed) for the period of the lockdown: March 30, 2020 to April 19, 2020. This includes overstayed trucks in transit yards.”
Available figures indicate that, transit trade volumes for much of the past decade accounted for about six percent of the country’s cargo throughput.
A study by the Ghana Shippers Authority shows that, an estimated total revenue of US$24 million is accrued to the Ghanaian economy from some quantifiable services provided by various operators involved in the delivery of transit services to neighboring landlocked countries, Burkina Faso and Mali annually.
The amount was derived from payments for services in relation to the handling of transit cargo from both Tema and Takoradi Ports, State Insurance Company (SIC) – the National Guarantor for the bond value, fees to Ghanaian haulage truckers, operators of the electronic tracking device and for freight forwarders services.
Head of Freight and Logistics Department of the GSA, Fred Asiedu–Dartey told the B&FT in an interview that, “we know the worth of transit trade to the country and in these difficult times we had to do something to also help their operation, reason why we requested the GPHA to put in the waiver. This is the time our human instincts as organizations must come to bear. This is the time to support each other out of this pandemic.
We are still monitoring events and will ensure that measures are put in place to guarantee that these transit truck drivers adhere to the safety protocols while on their journey so that we can all protect ourselves,” he said.
This waiver is coming on the back of a similar one the Ghana Shippers’ Authority pushed for in relation to rent and demurrage/detentions charges from Shipping Line, the Meridian Port Services and the GPHA.