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Shippers cut cocoa exports freight by 9.4%

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The Ghana Shippers Authority and shippers ferrying Ghana’s cocoa exports to Europe have agreed to cut their freight charges by 9.4 per cent for the 2018/2019 cocoa season.

The reduction in the freight rate became necessary because of the about 40 per cent drop in cocoa prices on the world market in the 2017/18 season.

Ms Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), told journalists that shippers would receive £35 per tonne down from £39 as charges for shipment to the United Kingdom (UK) and other European countries.

She was speaking at the end of a three-day cocoa freight negotiation conference which was held for the first time in Ghana.

However, Ms Bismarck said because of the volatility of oil prices and other related carrier charges, the bunker adjustment factor (BAF) was increased by 25 per cent.

“We looked at all the proposals that were submitted to us in the light of what is happening on the global scene. A lot of them were asking for a 30 per cent increase in the BAF but we thought we should meet them halfway by increasing it by 25 per cent,” she explained.

Other conditions of shipments agreed on during the negotiations include supply dressing materials, position empty containers at the cocoa stuffing areas and bear lift on and lift off cost.

The Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), on the other hand, would carry out the dressing and stuffing of containers, delivery of full boxes to named places and terminals and fumigation of empty laden containers.

The Managing Director of the CMC, Mr Joe Forson, said the cut in the freight rates would save the country millions of dollars.

“We ship around 700,000 tonnes annually and so we were able to leverage on that to bring the freight down by 9.4 per cent,” he said.

In a communiqué the parties agreed that the delivery of allocation letters to shipping lines be expedited to minimise delays and associated costs to make for quicker and more efficient shipment.

It also recommended that the shipment of cocoa is prioritised by the GPHA and that in the medium to long-term, dedicated berths should be allocated for cocoa shipments.

The communiqué again recommended that the GSA should facilitate engagements with the GPHA and other relevant industry stakeholders to address issues related to the shipment of cocoa.

Source: GNA

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