Maritime Authority slaps shippers with increased charges

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The Ghana Maritime Authority is to go ahead with the planned increment in safety charge at the ports.

Citi Business News can confirm shipping lines will pay 50 cents up from the current figure of 15 cents.

A notice to shipping lines from the Authority sighted by Citi Business News stated that with effect from 1st October, safety charges at the ports will be increased.

Some shipping lines who have spoken to Citi Business News said that the charges were astronomical.

According to them, they have been slapped with an increment of 233 percent and have threatened to pass on the cost to their clients.

But speaking to Citi Business News the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu said they will not back down with the increment.

“This one dollar was subsequently negotiated with pressure from shipping lines and forced my predecessor to move the one dollar to fifteen cents. That action is illegitimate from the standpoint of the country’s laws. It didn’t go to parliament and I have always said that if it was in China, anyone of us acting on that will be hanged or shot. So the shipping lines came, forced the guy with all kinds of agitations,” he stated.

The GMA boss added, “So when I took over in March I realized what was happening in April. So I took the law, I invited all stakeholders and my directors here have no idea how that amount was arrived at because they were not party to it. So when I asked them to give me basis for moving one dollar to fifteen cents they were not able to tell me how they come up with that.”

Meanwhile Mr. Owusu explained that the current fees being charged the shipping lines which is 15 cents per vessel, was illegal because parliament has approved 1 dollar per vessel.

“Fifteen cents out of one dollar, that’s illegal. Illegitimately, they have operated on that and fed on that, cheating the Ghana government over a period. They have been operating on this price since 2012 so I have not increased it since I came.”

Source: Vivian Kai Lokko ||

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