Mr. Fred Asiedu-Dartey, the Head of Freight and Logistics Department of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority is calling for massive education for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to avoid huge demurrage and rent cost at the various ports.
“Shippers especially MDAs require adequate sensitization on exemption procedures, the administration of Un-cleared Cargo List (UCL) and how to avoid demurrage and rent costs and ultimately forfeiture of a consignment,” he said.
Mr. Asiedu-Dartey made the call in Accra, at a sensitization seminar on UCL held for government MDAs to highlight issues in the maritime sector and find ways of addressing them.
He said the Authority has identified the lack of official notification to shipping lines when consignments on the UCL were about to be auctioned and also, shipping agencies were not furnished with information of the buyer, to enable them track and retrieve the container.
“We have also identified lapses of selective gazetting of overstayed cargo, publication of overstayed cargo earmarked for auction were usually not done in good time,” he added.
Mr. Asiedu-Dartey said the major causes of UCL was financial difficulties, high cargo clearance cost, lack of proper documents to clear cargo in time and cumbersome exemption regime for goods, which needed urgent attention.
Studies by the Authority show that in 2017, GHC 48 million were paid by importers as demurrage and rent costs.
Mr. Asiedu-Dartey said un-cleared cargo has adverse effects on all parties connected to the consignment, adding that an improved UCL administration is relevant for freeing the ports of abandoned cargo.
He said the objective for auctioning goods was to create space in the ports for new cargoes and secure government revenue.
He called on authorities to institute legal remedies for goods auctioned prior to the stipulated period.
Ms. Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Standards Authority, said the Authority’s research has shown a high tendency for consignments of MDAs to overstay at the ports, resulting in dire financial consequences.
She said that a major process that affected the clearance for some category of imported goods was the exemption for imports granted by the Ministry of Finance through the GRA-Customs, in collaboration with relevant government agencies.
She said government’s vision of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid, is to reach the goal of developing the country, however not through dependence on aid from development partners, but through available resources.
“For this to be achieved, every available resource must be accounted for. As agencies of state, the payment of these accumulated demurrage and rest charges amounts to a wasteful dissipation of national resources that could have provided essential services to the citizenry”.