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A seminar themed “How to avoid Demurrage” was organised Thursday April 6, 2018 for members of Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) as part of activities by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) to sensitise importers and the trading public on how to avoid the payment of demurrage at the country’s seaports.
Demurrage is the use or holding of containers beyond free time or days given within the port or terminals.
Statistics from the GSA indicate shippers paid a demurrage of USD 95 million and USD 76 million to shipping lines in 2016 and 2017 respectively. This represents a 19.56 per cent decrease over the 2016 figure.
In a welcome address, the President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, noted the payment of container demurrage as a major cost item and a huge disincentive to the growth of import and export businesses in Ghana.
He expressed his appreciation to the GSA for organising the seminar for members of his Association by bringing together critical stakeholders in the shipping industry in the spirit of collaboration to find lasting solutions to the recurring demurrage problem.
The CEO of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority who was represented by the Deputy Chief Executive Ms. Sylvia Asana Dauda-Owu said the reduction in the payment of demurrage and rent remains a priority for the Authority in its effort to reduce the cost of doing business at the ports.
She said bold initiatives like the Paperless Port Project, withdrawal of one per cent Special Import Levy and duty on imported spare parts among others introduced by the government to facilitate trade at the country’s ports would not benefit shippers if they continue to pay avoidable and needless charges.
“We are confident that these shipper education and sensitisation programmes would create the necessary impetus for the avoidance of demurrage and rent payments”, she assured.
The Head of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at GSA, Mr Emmanuel Arku; Vice President of Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), Mr Adam Imoro Ayarna; Chief Revenue Officer , GRA-Customers, Mr Louis Mennia; President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Mr Kwabena Ofosu Appiah; and the Executive Assistant to the Director General of GPHA, Mrs. Esi Soderberg took turns as resource persons from their stakeholder perspectives to explain to members of GUTA the causes of demurrage and ways to avoid them.