Demurrage charges refer to fees payable by importers when their import containers are not cleared and remain under the control of the shipping line beyond the stipulated seven days due to delays.
At a seminar organized by the Ghana Shippers Authority and participated by agencies including, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders(GIFF), a Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers Authority, Sylvia Asana Dauda assured stakeholders that her outfit will lead a vibrant sensitization agenda to educate shippers on how to avoid demurrages.
“As an organization, we have taken it upon ourselves to engage various stakeholders so we can delve into the issue of demurrage and come out with the practical challenges that shippers are facing so that see how best we can tackle this issue to reduce the payment of demurrages to the barest minimum”, she expressed.
The President of the Ghana Union of Trade Association (GUTA), Joseph Obeng advised traders to do their best and prevent the payment of demurrages, in order to avoid high cost of doing business at the Ports.
“We are telling them to secure demurrage free from the onset of the shipping of their products from their suppliers,” he encouraged.
Vice President of the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, Adam Imoro Ayarna advised shippers to always engage the clearing agents to negotiate additional free days any time they observe that their clearance will delay instead of waiting to default the stipulated timeframe.
Nana Esi Soderberg, Executive Assistant to the Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, urged importers to familiarize themselves with clearance charges and procedures before embarking on their shipping business.
“What are the documentations, what are the cost that each of these parties require? It is very important at the beginning to break these down,” she urged.
The President of Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Kwabena Ofosu Appiah reminded the participants that in the Revenue Laws, Customs Act 2009, Section 44 (5), Saturdays, Sundays or Public holidays are not to be added to the free seven days of clearance hence should not be used in calculating demurrages.
“If they have a special dispensation for which reason their count is different, we will have to know and get is established,” he added.
Demurrage charges are said to have impacts on the Ghanaian economy, due to the effects it has on the cost of imports and eventually results in high cost of living.