The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has appealed to the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) to maintain charges at port, despite the 500 per cent increment in international freight charges.
"Freight charges have been increased from $3,000 dollars to $13,000 which has inconvenienced everybody but this is not the right time for GPHA to bring in new charges to cause us more problems especially when businesses are being negatively impacted by the pandemic," president of the association, Dr Joseph Obeng said, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on Friday.
The situation, he said, had already negatively affected businesses; therefore, GPHA must show how sensitive it is to the plight of its partners.
Touching on the need for proper regulation in the shipping line industry of the country, he stressed that government needed to protect the interest of importers since there were so many illegalities being practised in the sector.
He revealed that currently, shipping lines in the country make customers pay for freight charges and another fee they called operational costs which is wrong and needed to be scrapped immediately, saying every charge must be included in the freight charges.
Paying freight charges and then operational costs, he said, was a form of thievery as this was not done in any part of the world except Ghana.
Dr Obeng bemoaned that paying freight charges and operational costs meant paying double for the same goods.
He also mentioned that there was the need for the Ministry of Transport to have a broader consultative engagement with importers, exporters and all stakeholders in the shipping industry to address the challenges of the sector.
"The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) is doing well but more needs to be done to ensure businesses are protected.
Double payment for goods is a form of cheating and we will not accept it. This has been going on for a long time and affected persons can no longer keep enduring. It is time government becomes more sensitive to the needs of the importers and exporters in this country," he said.
Describing the exorbitant operational charges by shipping lines in the country as needless, Dr Obeng indicated that if the situation was not salvaged immediately, prices of goods and services would continue to rise.
He further revealed that many importers were now out of business because of the exorbitant charges by the shipping lines in the country.