Business General

Angry importers, exporters threaten to march over ‘monstrous’, ‘illegal’ port charges

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG) has said it is saddened by recent developments within the maritime space, which, if not addressed in earnest, could throw many shippers out of business.

According to the association, “the monstrous and illegal local handling charges being charged importers by shipping lines operating in our maritime space, have become an albatross and a threat to local importers and businesses as a whole.”

The association, in a statement, noted that importers, after paying so much as freight charges, are, again, subjected to coughing up huge sums of money for the payment of local handling charges that have no bases or legal backing.

The IEAG said it has documented evidence that shows that some shipping lines are charging as much as GHS3,344 for a 20-footer container, as local handling charge, and these charges could go up if the importer is clearing more than one container.

Apart from importers being made to pay cash for the local handling charges, the IEAG alleged that they are, again, compelled to deposit an amount of GHS300 to GHS1,000 as insurance cover for the containers in which the goods are being transported.

“It’s quite interesting to note that even though the said deposit charges are refundable, it takes over months for the shipping lines to refund the deposit,” the statement signed by the Executive Secretary, Mr Samson Asaki Awingobit noted.

“It’s also quite unfortunate to note that these local handling charges are being charged at a dollar rate of GHS10.85, as against that of the central bank rate of 8.2,” the statement added.

The IEAG says it remains resolute in its call for the government, through the Shipper’s Authority, to exercise its powers in ensuring “this daylight thievery by the shipping lines is addressed.”

“The cupidity, as demonstrated by the shipping lines to exploit shippers (importers and exporters), is unfortunate; and we, as an association, expect the presidency to compel the transport ministry to crack the whip, since the imposition of these charges by any shipping line without the approval of the relevant bodies, constitutes an infringement of the sovereign rights of the business community in Ghana.”

The importers and exporters have threatened to hit the street with a sit-down strike if the government fails to act on their plea.

Related Posts