Demurrage payments at the ports—which is money that a shipper pays to a shipping line for holding onto their containers beyond the mandated seven-day grace period—has sharply declined from US$76m in 2017 to US$19m as at the end of 2021, according to figures from the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA).
The downward course, according to the authority, was largely down to bold port reform actions of the government including the paperless port and advanced declarations through the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) as well as an extensive shipper education towards cost reduction at the ports.
“These figures bear eloquent testimony of the impact of the combined effect of the sensitization campaign and very bold Government initiatives and interventions in the cargo clearance process like the Paperless Port Project and pre-arrival declaration in the ICUMS,” said the chief executive officer of GSA, Ms. Benonita Bismarck, in a speech read on her behalf at a shippers’ seminar on demurrage in Accra.
These improvements notwithstanding, the GSA says it will continue to pursue further reduction to the barest minimum in the interest of shippers and the national economy, especially in the face current exchange rate volatility.
“We cherish our responsibility to sensitize shippers on key issues that impact directly on their profitability, efficiency and competitiveness within the market space,” she added.
The one-day seminar formed part of efforts of the GSA to empower the shipping community on the need to avoid delays and unfavorable instances their increase the cost of doing business at the ports.
Participants were drawn from the chambers of commerce and mines, Ghana Union of Traders Association, Association of Ghana Industries, the Committee of Freight Forwarders Association, government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) among others.
Deputy Commissioner for Suspense Regimes at GRA Customs, Emmanuel Ohene, who chaired the occasion, in his brief remark encouraged shippers to adjust their operations to the changing digital demands of the business to become competitive.
“In today’s world where knowledge and the search for the best ways of doing things with cutting edge technology has become a sine-qua-non for the survival of organizations, shippers must make the needed adjustments that guarantee their survival in the highly competitive business milieu,” he advised.