IN 2018, shippers paid less than what they did in 2017 to shipping lines for undue grounding and detention of containers after the mandatory free periods, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Ms Benonita Bismarck, has disclosed.
This, she explained, meant that demurrage declined by 22.4 per cent to US$59 million in 2018 as against the US$76 million paid to shipping lines in 2017.
According to her, the development is an indication that the shipper education and sensitisation campaign initiated by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), in collaboration with some key industry stakeholders, started two years ago, continues to yield positive results.
Addressing the 2019 Ghana Shippers Awards, in Accra at the weekend, Ms Bismarck said the authority was of the view that continuous sensitisation of shippers would reduce the figure significantly.
As part of the campaign, she stated that the GSA barely a month ago, organised a seminar on uncleared cargo list (UCL) for government ministries, departments and agencies (MMDAs).
“The GSA’s research has shown a high propensity for consignments of MMDAs to overstay at the ports.
As I indicated at the seminar, the payment of accumulated demurrage and rent charges by agencies of the State amount to a wasteful dissipation of national resources that could otherwise have provided essential services for Ghanaians,” she said.
Tema Port expansions
The CEO observed that the commencement of operations at the newly constructed Terminal Three at the Tema Port, was a game changer for shippers and the shipping industry in Ghana as a whole, a phenomenon which would result in the improvement in cargo management and delivery.
She said before the official opening of the terminal to business, the GSA, in collaboration with the Meridian Port Services (MPS), organised a tour of the facility for over 300 shippers, freight forwarders and other stakeholders in the shipping and logistics sector.
“We reckoned that the transition from the old terminal to the new one would introduce some changes in the cargo flow processes, particularly for domestic and transit cargo within the new facility.
“It, therefore, became imperative that shippers and other stakeholders doing business in the Tema port acquaint themselves with the new operational procedures and thereby adjust their expectations of improvements in service delivery by MPS,” she added.
Enabling business environment
A deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover, said the government was committed to creating an enabling business environment to ensure businesses thrive.
Opening of the Terminal Three, he said, was to transform and make the Tema Port the most effective and efficient seaport in the West African subregion.
“The new terminal has a 16-metre draft to accommodate bigger vessels, it will also help to enhance our transshipment business and make our country one of the biggest shipping hub in Africa.
“It will help improve the turnaround time and ease congestion at the Tema Port,” he said.
He observed that the success of the new port was very important to the country.
As a result, he said the Ministry of Transport directed the management of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and MPS to continue to operate with the existing port tariffs.
The awards scheme
On the awards, there were a total of 51 competitive awards, out of which 15 were picked by shippers and the rest by shipping service and other allied service providers.
The third edition of the awards provided a platform to recognise individuals and companies that play a significant role in the growth and development of the shipping industry.
It is an initiative of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Globe Productions, and GRAPHIC BUSINESS with support from the Ministry of Transport, and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).
It is designed to reward individuals and corporates which have played defining roles in moving the industry forward and have demonstrated achievement across a wide variety of domains including sustainability, operational excellence, and innovation.
The scheme identified projects and individual achievements that have enabled shippers to set themselves apart from their competitors and produced clear and compelling value and other relevant results.