Shipping lines admit not engaging stakeholders before rolling out new charges
An Executive Member of Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, (SOAAG) Adam Imoro Ayarna, has admitted that the Shipping Lines operating in the country did not engage the importing public in negotiations before deciding to increase its new charges that have been described by the trading public as excessive and arbitrary.
Speaking on Eye on Port on the issue of shipping line charges, the Executive Member of SOAAG, said at best, the shipping lines only served a notice to importers of the imminent increment of charges in the latter part of 2020 but did not engage them.
This he admitted is contrary to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority’s initiative of engaging the stakeholders before increasing their tariffs because tariff adjustments by the shipping lines are done by their Principals.
Adam Imoro Ayarna explained that shipping lines expect the importers who may have concerns of the increment to directly consult their respective lines to see if they can negotiate the cost of shipping on a case by case basis.
Mr. Ayarna also asserted that it is not up to the shipping lines to explain the components of the cost embedded in the cumulative charges by the shipping lines, since each line makes their own calculations based their business structures and requirements.
However, this assertion was contended by the President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Eddy Akrong who criticized the practice saying it is unfair to the importing public.
A Vice Chairperson of the Greater Accra branch of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Jonny Mantey, stated that is about time shipping lines are regulated in the country.
He said the shipping lines are supposed to take up any intentions for increase in fees with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority to negotiate, yet the GSA has confirmed that no consultations of the sort were done by the Shipping Lines before resorting to the arbitrary increases.
The President of GIFF Eddy Akrong, said as a matter of urgency the Ministry of Transport has to intervene before as he puts it “the situation gets chaotic.”
He explained that the basis for which the shipping lines have added on to their fees which has to do with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority increasing their port charges to the shipping lines is untenable.
Eddie Akrong thus said it is unfair the shipping lines are passing on such excessive charges to the shipping lines when they do not offer those services.
Worse of all, he said whereas the Port Authority has increased its tariffs to the shipping lines by a cumulative amount of USD 35, the shipping lines on the other hand have increased their charges by over US$100.
A representative of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the General Manager in charge of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Esther Gyebi-Donkor revealed that while GPHA made the increment on their tariffs based on some operational investments that need to be recouped, they did not expect the shipping lines to pass on the entire cost unto importers.
She explained that the tariff increments are necessary because since the opening of the MPS Terminal 3, which is a world class container terminal, cargo throughput and turnaround time of vessels have significantly improved leading to efficient service delivery at the port.
“In 2019, at the MPS Terminal 3 the average turnaround time was 3 days 7 hours per vessel, but if you compare it to 2020, it was 2 days and 5 hours,” she said.
She emphasized that such feat was achieved as a result of heavy investment in infrastructure.