08 September 2016

Proposed terminal handling charges scrapped

portsThe Ministry of Transport has scrapped the introduction of Terminal Handling Charges (THC) as a local cost to shippers in the country on the grounds that no new service is being introduced by shipping firms in the ports to warrant such a charge.

Had the proposal been upheld, shippers in the country would have to pay between US$140 and US$265 as the terminal handling charge for 20-foot and 40-foot containers respectively to have their consignments offloaded from the carting vessel.

A statement from the Ministry signed by the sector minister, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, said the shipping lines could, however, charge the THC as part of the freight payable to the shipper at the port of origin in accordance with the right Incoterms.

“There are a number of cost elements, including stevedoring cost that culminate in the freight price that is quoted by shipping lines.

No new service has been introduced by shipping lines at the ports to warrant a new charge…, shipping lines are at liberty to increase their freight rates in accordance with increased operational costs,” the statement said.

A number of shipping lines had earlier informed clients about their intention to roll out the directive as at August 1, this year, with a few of them imposing the charge after the notified date.

The announcement from the shipping lines was met with stiff rebuttal from six key business associations that represent the critical mass of the shipping community and traders whose argument was that THC was “illegitimate and injurious” to their business and the economy as a whole.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA), Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) and the Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee (GARSC) had indicated that the THC was a “duplicated cost”.

Transport Minister Fifi Kwetey, following an impasse between the shipping lines/agents and shippers, on August 10, ordered the suspension of the THC pending investigations into the matter by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA).

The statement stressed that trade in the country has always had an all-in freight—which includes stevedoring costs paid by the shipper—and urged the shipping lines/agents to abide by the directive to ensure harmony in the shipping industry.

It implored: “All shipping lines/agents should abide by this directive to ensure harmony in the country’s shipping industry.”



Source: B&FT

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