President John Mahama has sent a strong signal to shipping companies to halt the implementation of the Terminal Handling Charges (THC).
According to him, the fee has no legal backing and need not be imposed on Ghanaian shippers. He was speaking at an event to mark the first anniversary of the national Single Window Project.
Players in Ghana’s shipping sector have threatened to sue shipping companies if they continue to charge the THC.
According to them, the development is a clear violation of a directive by the Transport ministry to halt the charge.
The body has asked members to raise hand written protest before they issue any money in connection with the THC. The move is to gather enough evidence to back its suit.
The chairperson of the Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee, Adobea Asiamah, said a suit is part of the options available to them if shipping companies continue to be adamant.
“When it started and we realized that some of the lines were recalcitrant and they were insisting on taking it, we notified members and we started sending the evidence to the Ghana Shippers Authority.
“Of course their mandate is to promote and protect the interest of shippers so we started sending it to them and so far as we are concerned the shippers authority has also duly informed the minister or the ministry because at least I have heard the chief director commented on it; I have heard him comment on it that it has come to their notice that they are still charging so if it has come to their notice then they should make do their work.”
With the new charges, shippers would have to pay between 140 and 155 dollars for a 20-footer container, and 260 to 275 dollars for a 40-footer.
The body says the payment of THC is a duplication of payments as their freight charges cover the THC.
The payment of the THC will mean that shippers would have to cough out about $78 million per year, if it persists.
According to the stakeholders, even after the Ministry of Transport on September 2, 2016, issued a directive for shipping companies in the country to stop charging the THC, some continue to flout the directive.
The body leading the charge comprises the leadership of the AGI, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters, Ghana Union of Traders Associations and Private Enterprise Federation.
The rest are Ghana Root Crops and Tubers Exporters Union, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, and the Greater Accra Regional Shippers Committee.