…GUTA, ACHAG say there is more room for improvement
Data from the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has revealed that in 2020 shipper complaints it resolved amounted to 118. The complaints resolved included delays in arrival and release of cargo; charges on demurrage, and exemptions; damage to cargo; refund for handling charges and other charges from shipping service providers.
Monica Josiah, Head of Shipper Services and Trade Facilitation at the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) – speaking at the GSA’s mid-review meeting, noted that the authority has established Shipper Complaints and Support Units (SCSUs) at vantage locations across the country in order to move its services closer to where shippers operate.
This, she noted, will also help in offering real-time assistance and finding solutions to the challenges confronting shippers in the course of their business transactions. Currently, six SCSUs exist at the country’s entry points: namely the Ghana Air Cargo Centre at the Kotoka International Airport; Elubo border; TACOTEL (Takoradi Container Terminal); and the Aflao, Akanu and Paga borders. She encouraged importers and exporters to contact the GSA if they are confronting problems in the shipment of their cargo.
At the same meeting, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) acknowledged the efforts from the GSA to resolve complaints from its members; saying the Shipper Complaints and Support Units have been helpful.
But the president of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, noted that the number of resolved cases would have been greater if more GUTA members were aware of the Shipper Complaints and Support Units.
“We have many issues, but with the figure mentioned it means just a few got the attention of the GSA. We have many of our members coming to us with their issues and we send some of them to the GSA, who have been receptive to us. We know they are doing their best, but they can do more,” Mr. Obeng said.
President of the Association of Customs House Agents Ghana (ACHAG), Yaw Kyei, on his part said that shippers appreciate the efforts of GSA at addressing matters which come before it, considering the circumstances in which it operates. He recognises that issues in relation to the refund of container deposits have seen much improvement in the past one year – but was quick to add that more should be done to deal with arbitrary charges from shipping lines hampering their operations.
He also added that the GSA must push the shipping lines to stick to the Bank of Ghana Forex Rate, and not that of the open market which is not controlled. He believes this would result in making some fees in the sector a bit more predictable.
GSA Act amendment
The leadership of GUTA and ACHAG reiterated calls for an amendment of the GSA Act. According to them, the amendment would fix some structural legal challenges and help make the GSA become more formidable.