Reducing demurrage and detention is our priority – Shippers’ Authority

Romeo Frimpong during his presentation. On the high table: From right, Tema Branch Manager-GSA, Mr. Charles Darling Sey; Head-Freight and Logistics. GSA, Fred Asiedu-Dartey; Assistant Commissioner-General Duties, Tema collections, Theresa Potakey

Implementing measures to reduce demurrage and detention (D&D) payments at the country’s ports is a key priority, Tema Branch Manager-Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Mr. Charles Darling Sey has said.

Addressing attendees at a Demurrage Seminar convened by the GSA in Tema on December 13th 2023, Mr. Sey highlighted that alongside other explored strategies, the GSA is steadfast in its commitment to continually educating importers on methods to evade D&D payments. He emphasised that D&D is an avoidable cost, and the campaign to reduce yearly payments will persist until positive outcomes are realised.

GSA data indicate a decrease in estimated demurrage payments from US$76million in 2017 to US$27million in 2019, further dropping to US$19million in 2021. This decline – attributed to the combined effects of a sensitisation campaign and government initiatives like the Paperless Port Project and pre-arrival declaration in the ICUMS – witnessed a reversal in 2022. The steady decline gave way to an increase to US$24million in 2022 due to exchange rate differentials between the Ghana cedi and US dollar.

During the seminar, participants from the shipping and logistics sector voiced challenges leading to D&D payments. They urged the GSA, Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority and Shipping Lines operating in the country to establish favourable working conditions to support the effort.

A cross-section of participants

A representative from Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Romeo Frimpong, expressed concern that if systems are not streamlined, D&D payments could be transferred to consumers by shippers.

Assistant Commissioner of General Duties at the Tema collections, Theresa Potakey, encouraged shippers to report their challenges to their offices, assuring prompt attention. She clarified that while they are committed to collecting all taxes belonging to the state, there are no intentions to obstruct shippers.

Chairman of the seminar and Head of Freight and Logistics at the GSA, Mr. Fred Asiedu-Dartey, stressed the need for consistent and deliberate efforts to address the D&D menace. He added that engagements with players in the sector will take place to tackle some of the challenges expressed by freight forwarders and shippers.

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