Ghana Union of Traders Association wants port authorities to halt demurrage and rent charges

The Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has called on the government to stop claiming ‘demurrage and rent charges’ at the country’s ports during the partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President of GUTA Dr. Joseph Obeng

Demurrage is a charge payable to the owner of a chartered ship on failure to load or discharge the ship within the agreed time.

GUTA said that they have tried all within their power to speak to the Ghana Port and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and owners of shipping lines through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Shippers Authority to waive off the charges but that has been futile.

In a statement signed by the President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, he said that “ It is quite unfortunate that persistent calls through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Shippers Authority to the shipping lines and GPHA to waive the demurrage and rent charges at this very crucial time in the life of this country is proving futile.”

“We are therefore calling on the government to strongly appeal to the Shipping lines and GPHA to give unconditional waivers to demurrage and rent charges during this period of the lock-down so that together we all achieve the aim of fighting this pandemic,” the statement added.

This is coming after the GPHA stated that despite the restrictions of movement clearance of all types of goods at the country’s seaports is on-going.

But GUTA said that most of their businesses are closed due to the partial lock-down imposed in Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa, and Kumasi. He said the lockdown has made it difficult for them to sell and make money so they can pay for the duties on their goods.

“It is very sad that while most of our members cannot move out freely because they are all adhering to the restrictions announced by the government, the shipping lines are asking that since they are still working, our members whose goods have arrived at the ports should clear them or pay demurrage if the containers continue to remain at the ports during this lockdown period,” the statement noted.

GUTA also entreated the government to direct that only consignment that is part of essential goods be cleared while all others are held on till the end of the lockdown.

They explained that this should be done “quickly so that our members are not forced to clear their goods and open their shops and warehouses to offload their goods.”

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