The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) has urged importers to submit genuine documents to speed up goods clearance and avoid demurrage and rent charges.
In excess of US$75 million was paid as demurrage, last year, and about GH?48 million as port rent, during the same period.
The GSA Chief Executive, Benonita Bismarck, made the call in a speech read for her at a day’s seminar held for the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), in Accra.
She reminded them to do everything to clear their goods within the first seven days so that they would not have to pay any penalties.
They should start the clearance process before the arrival of vessels, secure licenses and permits, and submit genuine documents to prevent undue delays at the ports.
Ms. Bismarck spoke of a study conducted by the Authority in 2016, which showed that in excess of 85 per cent of containerized imports went on demurrage and storage rent.
Factors contributing to this included delays in the receipt of cargo documentation, lack of prior information on vessel arrival and non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
“It has been a priority of the Authority to reduce the total amount of demurrage and rent payments through shipper education and sensitization.”
Mr. Adam Imoro Ayarna, the Vice President of Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, asked that they established effective communication with the shipping lines and their agents so that their cargoes could be properly tracked to prevent delay.
Timely clearance of cargo would also ensure that the turnaround time of ship owners and shipping lines was reduced to improve their earnings.
He identified the lack of planning on the side of shippers, fraudulent activities of agents and the use of the shipping container as warehouse as some of the reasons that had been causing delays in the clearing process.
He advised shippers to engage the services of a professional agent or forwarder to handle shipment after the order was completed.
Dr. Joseph Obeng, President of GUTA, said they working with stakeholders in the sector to reduce the cost of doing business and facilitate trade to increase revenue.
He appealed to government and the shipping lines to consider working on holidays and weekdays to avoid delays in the system.