Ghanaian importers are now paying more than double the amount they paid for freight pre-Covid as a global shortage of shipping containers has drastically shot up the cost of moving goods from various parts of the world to Ghana’s ports, Business24 has gathered.
Transporting a 20-footer container from the point of origin to the nation’s ports now costs the importer about US$6,000 from US$2,400 pre-Covid.
Freight charge for a 40-footer container has more than doubled to between US$10,000 and US$13,000 from the previous rate of US$4,400.
“It’s true that freight has gone up; it is a global increment, but it’s going to affect pricing of goods and, by extension, the consumer,” Samson Asaki Awingobit, President of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, confirmed in an exclusive interview.
“It’s not an acceptable cost, but it is one that has arisen out of a situation, so what can we [importers] do?” he added.
The scarcity of shipping boxes or containers has become a major threat to the shipping business, with dire cost implications, specifically the sharp rise in freight rates.
Freight charge, also known as freight rate, is the amount paid to a carrier—either seaborne or airborne—for the transportation of goods from the point of origin to an agreed location.
A number of importers have said the increase in freight rates has negatively impacted their capacity to import more goods into the country.
It is also feared that a lot of them could go out of business should GRA Customs decide to use the new rates to calculate duties on imports.
“The increase in freight has nothing to do with the quantity of goods in the container. Customs is aware of our situation, and they are still using the old rates,” Mr. Awingobit indicated.
He was also emphatic that prices of goods will go up with or without an increase in duties considering the huge cost of freight that is being borne by importers.