The Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) and the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) have hinted of the provision of some incentives to attract vessels to the Takoradi Port, especially to cart cocoa.
The two bodies are to meet with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to finalise the incentives which are expected to increase activities at the Takoradi port in the coming months.
Out of the over 20 shipping lines in the country only three frequent the Takoradi Port, ostensibly to cart cocoa. Data from the CMC revealed that, Ghana shipped slightly over 500,000 tonnes of cocoa during the 2019/2020 cocoa season.
Out of this figure more than half, 52 percent, of the volume was shipped from Takoradi, with 42 percent from Tema and the rest from other parts of the country.
From the data, 45 percent of total cocoa production in Ghana is coming from the Western region. As a result, the nation wants to rely on cocoa to increase activities at the Takoradi Port and as the trend grows, more people are expected to channel goods there to open up the Western Region and beyond for business.
For now, it is not clear what all the incentives would be but the Managing Director of CMC, Vincent Okyere Akomeah hinted that: “we are encouraging as many shipping lines as possible to avail themselves to load cocoa from Takoradi.
We are assuring you of incentives such as greater volumes, and free empty container terminal at Kejebril. We are taking the issue of port tariff and charges with GPHA for vessels picking cocoa from Takoradi, and you will be informed accordingly about the outcome,” Mr. Akomeah said.
Speaking at an event to announce the 2020/2021 cocoa freight charges after this year’s Cocoa Freight Negotiation Conference, the Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, Benoita Bismarck also added that: “with the growing prominence of the Takoradi port as a loading port for Ghana’s cocoa, the conference took notice of the challenges encountered by the shipping lines.
In view of this, the Cocoa Marketing Company and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority will engage the relevant stakeholders, key among which is the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to address these challenges.”
Shipping line challenges
But for cocoa there would have been little activity at the Takoradi port as many shipping lines do not consider the route as profitable due to low vessel discharge; this is to help them save bunker (fuel). Some have even closed their offices in Takoradi and have found other means to truck cocoa onto vessels at the Tema Port. At a point, a private company owned a feeder vessel called Adobia that used to move cocoa from Takoradi to Tema, but that could not last long due to financial and other constrains.
2020/2021 cost of shipping cocoa
The Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) and the 24 shipping lines operating in the country have resolved to stay freight charges for the 2020/2021 cocoa season.
This means the rate, calculated per tonne, for shipping the crop to the various locations across the world remains unchanged at £30 to the United Kingdom (UK); €49 to the Northern Continent; €56 to Estonia; €55 to Mediterranean Europe; US$89/94 to the Far East and US$103 to Brazil.
The Bunker (Fuel) Adjustment Factor (BAF) was maintained at 27 percent for all destinations but for the UK which was reduced to 25 percent.
The rates were reached after negotiations and extensive deliberation on the future of the sector and how best to support each other amidst the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations.