Shippers Authority must use revenue judiciously – Freight Forwarders
The Takoradi branch of the Freight Forwarders and Clearing Agents (FFCA) have called on the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) to use revenue generated from the stakeholders in a judicious manner to benefit its entire members.
The FFCA made the call at a press conference held in Takoradi on Wednesday to react to the GSA claims of imposition of indiscriminate and unilateral charges on shippers by the FFCA.
The FFCA debunked such allegations and accused the GSA of being guilty of imposing illegal charges and flouting its mandate of operation.
“As much as the GIFF will not and does not condone any arbitrary charges by any of our members to the detriment of the Shipper, we will not expect the Shippers Authority as a State Institution not to use its privileged position to exploit the Shipper”, the FFCA stated.
Mr Kwame Asante Asare, Second Vice President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) said the Ghana Shippers Authority has constructed a number of projects that are not beneficial to the stakeholders but rather sought to satisfy their own parochial interests.
He said some of the projects that cost millions of dollars like the Boankra Inland Port in the Ashanti Region that was started without considering a railway line which would transport the cargo to the project sites.
He said the GSA is also guilty of constructing huge structures in Takoradi and Accra, presumably for freight forwarders and clearing agents but not widely used describing it as waste of revenue and resources.
Mr Asare said these projects were constructed without being consulted as there were pressing needs for the construction of warehouses to benefit all the users and members.
“All these ventures went on and are going on, without any trace of accountability or scrutiny as to whether the Shippers money is being properly appropriated, we believe that the day of reckoning is long overdue”, he added.
Mr Asare said the GSA charges on shippers has no basis in law and mentioned some two dollars charged on every freight on all imports into the country and $0.35 for all exports.
Five cedis per every declaration of an average of 10,000 declarations passed by the Customs House Agents, “beyond these charges the Shipper seeks to charge 25 Euros per bill of lading as cargo tracking fee, a charge that per their own law has no basis”.
Mr Asare expressed surprise at the Shippers Authority criticisms on the charge of the Freight Forwarders because it was the same Ghana Shippers Authority who in 1987 agreed with the shipping agents for the payment of services fees.
He explained, “a request to charge the importers a service fee was on the backdrop that carriers’ agents were doing the job of terminal handlers by using their equipment to deliver goods to customers at the ports”.
Mr Solomon Faakye, Executive Secretary of the GIFF, said there was the need for the establishment of Private Led Shipper Association that would champion the needs of shippers to ensure efficiency.
He said the present system where government institution led their interest was not the best for them.