Shippers’ Authority engage shipping lines to streamline sector

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Baffour Okyere Sarpong
  • Service standard concerns
  • Freight rates standardisation
  • Transparency and predictability

By Mohammed AWAL

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Kwesi Baffour Sarpong, has requested that shipping line charges in the sector be predictable, competitive, transparent and uniform. In his opening remarks during a meeting with the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), Mr. Baffour Sarpong indicated that the purpose of the meeting, among others, was to familiarise himself with the various service provider stakeholders in the sector, with SOAAG being one of them.

He highlighted that the mandate of GSA per its Establishment Law, NRCD 254, 1974 and L.I. 2190, 2012 are born out of Ghana’s drive to become private sector-friendly as the private sector is key to the country’s development agenda. This, he stated, forms the guiding principle of GSA’s activities to ensure a vibrant private sector for shippers characterised by competitive prices and quality service standard within the commercial process of shipping.

Addressing industry challenges

With cognisance to how GSA and SOAAG would collaborate, he called for an objective approach based on data and regional/global industry best practices. He explained that this approach would ensure that costs and service standards were equitable and justifiably.

He assured that the GSA aims to resolve all pricing and service standards concerns that will be raised by shippers in respect of shipping lines and their agents. For him, it is about time pragmatic measures are put in place to ensure pricing and freight rates standardisation, pricing transparency and pricing predictability to guide business operations of shippers.

Mr. Baffour Sarpong further underscored the need for shipping lines to honour their statutory bills to the authority on time as both parties strive to build an equitable relationship.

SOAAG response

On her part, the Executive Secretary of SOAAG, Perpetual Osei-Bonsu, said shipping lines strive to hold themselves to high professional standards in all their dealings with the shipper. She applauded the GSA for its regular shipper sensitisation and education, which have helped to enlighten shippers and enhance operations in the sector.

The Vice President of the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), Adam Imoru Ayarna, reiterated the importance of dialogue and constant communication on all matters to ensure a cohesive sector.

He reaffirmed their commitment to upholding the integrity of their globally renowned brands. Stressing the paramount importance of brand integrity, he highlighted their strict adherence to regulations and compliance with legal frameworks in the countries where they operate.

Addressing concerns raised regarding the classification of certain charges as illegitimate, he emphasised that no illegitimate fees are imposed on clients, with all practices aligning closely with established regulations and conducted transparently.

He wants any complaints from shippers regarding their services to be cross-checked with the respective lines or SOAAG. This proactive approach aims to ensure swift resolution of any misunderstandings or discrepancies, underscoring their dedication to maintaining transparent and accountable operations.

GSA CEO recommendation

Mr. Baffour Sarpong proposed a standing working group between GSA & shipping lines to meet regularly in order to gradually resolve concerns and challenges expressed by shippers. He said he is confident these regular engagements – with each side armed with their supporting data – would tackle the prevailing industry challenges objectively.

Mr. Baffour Sarpong added that GSA will adhere to Act, 1974 (N.R.C.D. 254) and L.I 2190 to ensure that the rights of shippers – importers, exporters and transiters – are promoted and protected. It is his belief that with this, commerce through Ghana’s marine, air and land ports will be competitive and make Ghana the preferred hub for all importers and exporters in the region.

SOAAG assured its commitment to supporting the authority execute its mandate.


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