Ghana Shippers’ Authority CEO engages top shippers

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The CEO of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Kwesi Baffour Sarpong has engaged top shippers in the Southern Zone to discuss costs and conditions at seaports, airports, and land borders.

The meeting, held on June 5, 2024, was the third in a series following similar gatherings in the Western and Middle Zones.

Mr. Sarpong highlighted GSA’s five-decade legacy of championing shippers’ interests in Ghana through innovative and tailored shipping solutions. Despite significant achievements, he emphasized the need for further improvements to reduce costly port delays that undermine Ghanaian businesses’ competitiveness.

As GSA celebrates its golden jubilee, Mr. Sarpong underscored the importance of remaining responsive and relevant in the dynamic trade environment. He outlined GSA’s strategic repositioning and realignment, including classifying shippers into Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories based on annual shipment values to address unique challenges promptly.

Additionally, zonal shipper and stakeholder committees have been established to tackle specific regional challenges, with Ghana divided into five operational areas: Northern, Middle, Eastern, Western, and Southern zones.

Highlighting the critical role of shippers in Ghana’s socio-economic development, the CEO shared data from the first quarter of 2024, showing a total international trade value of GH₵107 billion, including GH₵59.5 billion in exports and GH₵48.1 billion in imports.

He noted that in 2022, importers paid USD 24 million in demurrage, a cost contrary to Ghana’s economic development agenda. The CEO reaffirmed GSA’s goal of championing a ‘demurrage-free port’ in the interest of shippers and the national economy.

During the meeting, stakeholders raised concerns about prolonged port delays, high demurrage charges, inefficient cargo handling, and bureaucratic bottlenecks.

They expressed frustration over the impact of these challenges on their businesses, citing increased operational costs and reduced competitiveness in the global market.

In response, Mr. Sarpong acknowledged these concerns and outlined GSA’s strategic initiatives to address them. He emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts between the Authority and the stakeholders to create a more efficient and cost-effective shipping environment.

The CEO noted that the GSA is adopting a pre-emptive approach to address challenges in the shipping value chain, including prior notification of anticipated shipment issues to shippers. He appealed to importers, exporters, and customs house agents to provide accurate contact details to facilitate this service.

Mrs. Monica Josiah, Head of Operations at the GSA, under the new CEO’s leadership, the GSA has restructured importers and exporters into four categories: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and mapped the country into operational zones for improved service.

The over 30 years Regional Shippers Committees have now been reconstituted into Zonal Shipper Committees to enhance service delivery.

Also Mr. Fred Asiedu-Dartey, Head, Business and Commercial Development Department used the occasion to sensitize participants on key insights and progress on the Authority’s draft amendment bill.

In closing, the Director of Operations, Ms. Sylvia Asana Dauda Owu thanked the participants for attending and urged them to share their insights and suggestions to achieve their common goals.

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