Stakeholders in the maritime and shipping industry have been urged to show greater commitment in making shipping easier and cost effective for importers and exporters.
Madam Benonita Bismark, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), said the Authority was working with all key stakeholders to take pragmatic measures to clear cumbersome procedures and bureaucratic inefficiencies associated with clearing goods at the ports.
That, she said, would help prevent detention of goods and the associated high cost of demurrages that could cause a sharp rise in shipping cost, thereby affecting the prices of goods on the market.
Madam Bismark was speaking at a seminar on “Container Demurrage” in Kumasi.
The seminar, themed: “How to Avoid Demurrage” was organised by the GSA to highlight key practices by shippers that attract demurrages and strategies to avoid them.
It was attended by stakeholders from the maritime industry, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Korean Importers Association.
Madam Bismark said one of the key mandates of the Authority was the protection of the interest of shippers and would, therefore, work to ensure they responded to the changing needs of the maritime industry and engage in their businesses without much difficulties.
She said the high cost of doing business at the ports was a disincentive to the growth of businesses in the country.
Madam Bismark called on importers and exporters to plan their shipment in advance to help reduce clearing challenges and undue delays, which could lead to demurrage.
Mr Isaac Tersiah Ackwerh, the Ashanti Regional Branch Manager of the GSA, said a substantial number of the country’s imports were containerized and delays in clearing them led to imposition of charges.
This also adds to the cost of doing business and thereby, rendering them non-competitive.
He said the GSA was prepared to help them engage in quick and cost effective movement of goods and services to facilitate transit trade in neighbouring countries.
The participants called on the GSA to ensure that bonded warehouses had adequate security and rid of rodents to prevent goods from being stolen and damaged.