Government has ordered for shipping lines to withdraw the Terminal Handling Charges introduced at the country’s ports in August.
This follows recent agitations by several business associations against the charges.
In a statement, the Transport Minister, Fiifi Kwetey is charging shipping lines to abide by the directive to enhance harmony in the shipping industry in Ghana.
According to the statement, the Ministry took the action after perusing a report on the matter from the Ghana Maritime Authority.
The Ministry said the charges cannot apply because there are a number of elements including stevedoring cost and pilotage which culminate in the freight price quoted by shipping lines.
Also, the Ministry argued that trade in Ghana has always had an all in freight which includes stevedoring and pilotage cost paid by shippers.
Again, the Ministry said no shipping service has not been introduced by the shipping companies at the ports in Ghana to warrant such new charges.
The statement, however, added that the shipping companies are at liberty to increase freight cost in line with their operational cost.
Meanwhile, the latest directive follows an earlier one that the shipping lines are said to have flouted and thereby reportedly causing several consignments of goods to be stuck at the ports as many clearing agents and importers were reluctant in paying the charges.
Some of the clearing agents spoke to JOY BUSINESS earlier about their concerns.
“We pay about 16 taxes on one container, so this is a testimony of what we have been complaining about. We have a lot of goods which goes to
demorages and rent and we pay a lot for those goods,” one agent said.
“Importers have always complained that there are a lot of taxes on their goods. We have various importers, for some, they have money so they care not, they will pay for it. The others leave their goods at the ports and go back to abroad,” another agent said.
A third agent explained to JOY BUSINESS that hitherto, some of the goods do not attract taxes like import duty while others were attracting only VAT and not import duty.
“Now, you won’t get a good without import duty. For example, bicycle used to be duty-free but now there is a 20 percent import duty on it,” he said.
The latest directive for the shipping lines to withdraw should, therefore, be welcoming news for importers and the various business associations that resisted the implementation.