Parliament pushes for Ghana Shippers’ Authority Act review

the review is long overdue and if not done the minister will not have support from the minority side for its 2024 budget approval.  
Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah

Ranking Member of the Roads and Transport Committee of parliament, Kwame Govern Agbodza, has asked the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, to hasten processes to review the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) Act before presenting the 2024 budget.

According to him, the review is long overdue and if not done the minister will not have support from the minority side for its 2024 budget approval.

The Ranking Member, in contributing to approval of the ministry’s 2023 budget, said the move is to help sanitise the shipping and logistics sector and give shippers some leverage.

“Today, when Ghanaians clear goods at the ports they do not understand why they pay so much to the shipping lines, and they do not know where the money is going.

“I’m urging the minister that – before he submits the 2024 budget – he must bring a new law to review the current one, or else we will not be happy to review it,” Mr. Agbodza said.

He expressed worry that the current law has some lapses which shipping lines have taken advantage of to charge arbitrarily, to the detriment of businesses and the economy.

Report to Council of State

The Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) and Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) last year reported Shipping Line Operators in the country to the Council of State (COS) over activities they claim are leading to high cost of goods.

They urged the Council at a meeting called by the Council of State to investigate the rising cost of goods and services in the country, noting that there are a number of charges on the books of shipping lines that have outlived their usefulness and are unreasonably increasing the cost of doing business – resulting in high pricing for goods.

They added that several petitions and negotiations by the Ministries of Transport and Trade and Industry – which led to the Ghana Shippers’ Authority setting up a platform to deliberate the matters, as they border on the country’s competitiveness – resulted in little or no change.

GIFF President

Speaking to the B&FT after meeting with the Council of State, the president of GIFF, Edward Akrong, said the matter must be reported directly to the president; as the shipping lines cannot continue what he claims to be a rent-seeking operation leading to high cost of goods and also making the nation uncompetitive.

“We want the president to be tough and push state agencies to take drastic actions, including closing down recalcitrant shipping lines. What they do here cannot be done in Nigeria. It has been tolerated over the years and is becoming the norm. It must be stopped,” Mr. Akrong 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 raking in unreasonable profits.

GUTA President

The president of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, also said: “They (shipping lines) are private entities, we agree; but if we let it go, then it will go over the roof – and that would impact on the cost of goods and some services needed to run the economy.

“Apart from demurrage, we have other issues. Now we have security fees, ISPS fees, port additional charges etc.; all these are on their invoices. They will have to explain them well and tell us why the importer needs to bear the cost, and why these charges are not embedded in the freight charges.

“Most of these charges, we know, are factored into the freight rate paid at the port of loading; we don’t understand why they are standalone on the invoices in Ghana,” he added.


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