Ghanaian government orders suspension of demurrage, storage rent charges on all cargoes

The Ghanaian government has directed that the ports authorities suspend the collection of demurrage and storage rent charges on all cargo that arrived at the ports since March 30, 2020, when the partial lockdown took effect.

Ghana Port

This order comes after the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) entreated the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to desist from taking demurrage and rent charges at the ports.

A statement signed by the President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng 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 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.

However, a statement issued by the Minister of Transport Kwaku Ofori Asiama, on Sunday (April 19, 2020) said “It is the understanding of the Ministry that a number of unintended consequences have resulted from the current state of affairs. For instance, while some peculiar circumstances have prevented some shippers from clearing their cargo from the ports others have also encountered some challenges in the process. The effect of these developments and the far-reaching consequences on the shipping public may altogether defeat the fight against the novel COVID-19.”

“In the light of the foregoing, I hereby direct you that you communicate to all relevant stakeholders the suspension of all applicable charges ie. Demurrage detention and some storage rent charges on cargo which have remained uncleared since the lockdown came into effect o 30thth March 2020. This directive is to ensure that all shippers and all stakeholders do not take actions that may jeopardize government’s efforts at curbing the spread of the virus on the basis of averting the accumulation of costs in the clearance of their cargoes,” the statement added.

It also indicated that though the ports are still operating, “all stakeholders must ensure that the safety protocols advised by the Health Authorities to stem the spread of COVID-19 are strictly adhered to.”

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