Thursday, 15 April

New GPHA tariffs illegal; don’t pay – GUTA, importers & exporters tell members

Business
The groups say the new tariffs are illegal

The Ghana Union Traders Association and some other groups including importers and exporters, have asked their members to disregard the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority’s recently increased tariffs.

The tariff adjustment only targets shipping lines other than importers or exporters directly.

It applies to stevedoring, cranage and terminal handling (empty container) and containerised cargo for port dues.

The tariffs are to increase to 16.81 per cent for 40-footer container and 15.74 per cent for 20-footer container on the average.

According to the GHPA, the tariff adjustment will enable it to generate more revenue.

The revenue will be used to settle secured loans to build the Terminal Three of the Tema Port and other infrastructure.

However, GUTA and the other aggrieved groups said in a joint statement: “We have absolutely no doubts in our minds that the so-called increment in P.A.S by the shipping lines has no legal backing, no authorisation and, therefore, should be disregarded”.

The groups said: “We are calling on the Shippers Authority to do the needful by applying the necessary provisions in its regulations which states as per Clause 11, ‘A shipping Service provider that administers a charge for a service that the shipping service provider renders to a shipper without having negotiated that charge with the Authority shall pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of not more than Two Hundred penalty units and in the case of a continuing action, an additional administrative penalty of Ten penalty units for each day during which the action continues after written notice has been served on the offender by the Authority’”.

“By this release, we are entreating all exporters, importers, freight forwarders and all our partners within the logistics supply chain to disregard the notices of any increases commencing today, March 1, 2021”, the statement said.

Read the full statement below:

COFFT GHANA - PRESS CONFERENCE

MARCH 1 2021

STATEMENT BY COFFT, GUTA, FABAG AND IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS ON THE UNAUTHORISED INCREMENT OF PORT ADDITIONAL CHARGES BY SHIPPING LINES – DISREGARD NOTICE.

Good Morning distinguished Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, Happy New Month.

Barely two weeks ago, we received notices from the shipping lines that effective today, March 1, Ghanaians should brace themselves for an increment of over a 100% in what they have termed as port additionally charges (PAS) (Copies Available).

Ladies and Gentlemen, having interacted with the Ghana Shippers Authority, the regulator mandated by law to ensure sanity in terms of charges within the shipping industry, it has become evident, per our zoom meeting on Saturday, 27, 2021, that the shipping lines have not even filed their charges with the Authority, yet alone to seek negotiation

This so-called P.A.S  increment has no legal backing, has no authorisation and is contrary to Ghana Shippers Authority Regulations, 2012 (LI 2190).

The Ghana Shippers Authority Regulations, 2012(LI 2190), Regulation 5 states:

“Negotiation of charges”

(1) The Authority shall negotiate on behalf of shippers with associations of shipping service providers

(a) charges of shipowners, shipping lines and agents; (b) port charges;
(c) terminal and shore handling charges;
(d) charges of freight consolidators;

(e) charges for receipt and delivery operations;
(f) charges of freight forwarders; ‘ etc…

(2) For the purpose of negotiations, an association representing shipping service providers that provides services to shippers, shall notify the Authority three months before the beginning of each calendar year of the level and structure of the charges that the shipping service provider intends to administer.

(3) A shipping service provider who is not a member of any association shall negotiate with the Authority or charge the rates agreed upon between the relevant association and the Authority.

(10) The Authority shall publish the negotiated charges in the shippers' bulletin and in, at least, two daily newspapers of national circulation for the benefit of shippers and shipping service providers.

All the provisions posited above, not a single one has been fulfilled.  We are reliably informed that, the Ghana Shippers Authority has, this morning, written to the shipping lines to shelve those unauthorised charges and come to the table for negotiations as prescribed by the law.

Indeed, even where the situation might be deemed urgent, the Ghana Shippers Authority Regulations, 2012 (LI 2190 ), Regulation 5(5) is very clear on the processes seeking legitimacy for charges; it states: “Where arising out of an exigency there is a need to review rates and charges, the relevant shipping service provider shall notify the Authority of the necessary review and the Authority shall within seven days of the notification call for a meeting between the Authority and the relevant shipping service provider to discuss the proposed rates.”

Again, this function within the provision has not been satisfied.

We have absolutely no doubts in our minds that the so-called increment in P.A.S by the shipping lines has no legal backing, no authorisation and, therefore, should be disregarded.

We are calling on the Shippers Authority to do the needful by applying the necessary provisions in its regulations which states as per Clause 11, “A shipping Service provider that administers a charge for a service that the shipping service provider renders to a shipper without having negotiated that charge with the Authority shall pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of not more than Two Hundred penalty units and in the case of a continuing action, an additional administrative penalty of Ten penalty units for each day during which the action continues after written notice has been served on the offender by the Authority”.

By this release, we are entreating all exporters, importers, freight forwarders and all our partners within the logistics supply chain to disregard the notices of any increases commencing today, March 1, 2021.

We have to state that we are aware of  the sanctions as provided in the Shippers Authority’s regulation for flagrant  breaches such as these and we respectfully entreat the regulator to be up to the task and ensure that trade may not be impeded by the action of the shipping lines. 

We thank you for your attention.

Many Thanks

Source: ClassFMonline.com