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Demurrage payments in country’s ports reduces drastically – Authority

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The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) says demurrage payments at the Ports of Tema and Takoradi reduced from $95 million in 2016 to $76 million in 2017 representing 19. 6 per cent.

Addressing the media at the Second Edition of the Shipping Quarter and Outlook for 2018 in Accra, on Wednesday, Madam Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, said the success chalked was due to intensive shipper education and sensitisation drive.

Demurrage and rent are avoidable payments at the ports. If shippers are able to clear their cargo within the first seven days free period, they do not have to pay demurrage or rent charges,

Unfortunately, a number of shippers enter demurrage and rent periods due to several reasons, including the inability of importers to raise the required amount to pay clearing charges and other mandatory taxes.

The event was instituted by the GSA as a platform to engage the media and to provide timely, authentic and accurate information on the shipping industry to the public.

The first edition of the media engagement was held in April 2017.

Madam Bismarck said Ghana sustained her maritime trade performance in 2017 with an impressive increase in trade volume compared to 2016, noting that, the country’s seaborne trade volume increased by 15.9 per cent in 2017 over the year 2016.

The increment, she said, could be attributed to improved confidence in the economy and the fading of the uncertainty that characterised the political season of elections in 2016.

“The trend of Ghana’s seaborne trade for the past 10 years has been positive from a cargo throughput of 15.1 million metric tonnes (mt) in 2008, the volumes have increased to 21.5 million mt in 2017.

“Until now, the highest cargo throughput for Ghana was 20.2 million mt, which was registered in 2012. The year 2012 also registered the highest import of 15.0 million mt.

However, the year 2017 recorded the highest volume of exports, so far, of 6.2 million mt,” Madam Bismarck stated.

Madam Bismarck said the country’s seaborne trade was a true reflection of the Ghanaian economy, which was heavily dependent, noting that, the year 2017 echoed that fact with 68 per cent of the maritime trade volume being imports with 32 per cent exports.

The CEO of the GSA said the nation’s total imports for 2017 was 14.2 million metric tonnes representing an increase of 17.5 per cent over 2016.

That, she said, comprised 5.7 million metric tonnes of Liner cargo, 1.85 million metric tonnes of Break bulk, 3.1 million metric tonnes of Dry bulk cargo and 3.4 million metric tonnes of Liquid bulk imports

She noted that, the major performer was the Liquid bulk imports category with commodities like crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas recording substantial increases.

The GSA Boss said in 2016, the global economy experienced some difficulties as a result of the Brexit and China’s lower-than-expected demand for raw materials, which created uncertainties on the shipping market.

However, she said, in 2017, the shipping industry witnessed some recovery in the global economy with the world’s economic output estimated to have grown at 3.6 per cent compared to actual growth of 3.2 per cent in 2016.

The improved performance of the world trade in 2017 was partly based on the recovering investments in the major markets, especially in the US and China, therefore boosting demand for imports, she stated.

She noted that the world’s seaborne trade and maritime transport services are very much dependent on the world’s economic performance, noting that, the improvement in the economic growth in addition to strategies adopted by shipping companies had contributed in firming up freight rates. 

Madam Bismarck said a major development in 2017 was the alignments, re-configuration, mergers and acquisitions within the container shipping industry.

She said there were three major alliances known as 2M.Ocean Alliance and the Alliance involving the large global players. About 1,000 ships with a combined cargo capacity of 52 million metric tonnes were to be scrapped in 2017.

Madam Bismarck said the full impact of those alliances, mergers and acquisitions and the huge amount of scrapping undertaken in 2017, would be seen in 2018 and beyond.

It, however, noted that without excessive increase in new tonnage in the short term, shippers should brace up for increasing freight rates in the containerized trade sector with corresponding effects on other segments in 2018.

Source: GNA

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