Freight Forwarders threaten to picket against shipping lines


Members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) have threatened to picket at the various offices of the shipping agencies over what they claim to be unreasonable charges.

According to them, several complaints made to the shipping lines and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) have fallen on deaf ears, including increasing the cost of operation for the Freight Forwarder and the cost of doing business to the importer, which inadvertently affects the cost of imported goods.

President of GIFF, Edward Akrong, speaking at a press briefing in Tema, outlined administrative fees, day count for container-free days, receipt of containers, exchange rate differentials and coded invoices as some of the unreasonable charges by shipping lines.

“These fees have become ever increasing and bizarre in quantum even after the state had resolved the capacity issues with Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and MPS at full throttle. We cannot tolerate what is happening and pretend as if we are not bothered. We will act and we will act by picking and tell our disdain to the shipping lines,” he said.

He added that already, Freight Forwarders are struggling with container deposits, charges for use of online payments, un-invoiced and un-receipted deductions from deposits, blacklisting of agents and container damage fees. He described some of the charges imposed by the shipping lines as strange to the global industry and amount to the raking in of unreasonable profits.

Mr. Akrong noted that per their checks conducted on the continent, the country’s freight rate is extremely high.

Every year the GPHA, in its law make some increment in its port charges to take care of its facilities, 14 percent increment was made in 2020 on existing charges, according to Mr. Akrong some of the shipping lines in translating the GPHA’s increment ended up charging 100 percent on last year’s fees.

He wants the public to take a keen interest in their plight: “we want to bring awareness to the public because what is happening now affects you and me, and at the end of the day we are all in the crisis. The importers are not father charismas, they come here and these lines squeeze our hand behind us and take all these monies.”

He used the opportunity to reiterate their call on government to be stricter on the unfair operations of the shipping lines operating in the country.

Communication Director of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr. Joseph Paddy also indicated the abnormal charges which they pay at the ports is affecting the growth of the business community.

He said while government is trying to reduce the cost of doing business, the activities of the shipping lines are counterproductive. “As it stands now, you pay a surcharge for about GH¢11,000 or GH¢12,000 per container, whereas you have already paid your freights already. This is just an abnormal service fee. We have complained to the Ghana Shippers Authority severally and nothing has been done, and we think the time has come for government to intervene strongly,” Mr. Paddy said.

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