Terminal Handling Charges THC charges now part of freight

The Vice President of the Ship-owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG) Adam Imoro Ayarna explained that they will maintain this position until they reach a common grounds as to how to effect the charges.

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The Ship-owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), has asked its members to stop levying terminal handling charges (THC) as a local charge on shippers.

The Vice President of the Association Adam Imoro Ayarna told the B&FT that they have asked their members to add the THC to the freight as a cost to the shipper.

“We have asked shipping lines/agents to add the THC to the freight as a cost to the shipper; that means it will be up to the shipper and the consignee to decide where that cost will be paid.”

“By this action, the shipping lines have generally agreed to adhere to the directive of the Transport Minister, Fifi Kwetey,” he added.

The Minister of Transport Fiifi Kwetey in a statement released in August this year directed shipping lines operating to and from the seaports of Ghana to halt the introduction of the Terminal Handling Charges (THC).

READ ALSO: Businesses, traders reject 'killer tariffs' by shipping lines

The Minister said: “Terminal Handling Charges (THC) cannot be introduced at the ports in Ghana as a local charge.”

He said, “Terminal Handling Charges may be introduced as part of the freight payable by the shipper at the port of origin in accordance with the appropriate INCOTERMS.”

Ayarna said that they are still in talks to reach a common ground on this matter.

“We will still be in dialogue because we will like to reach out to the relevant bodies to ensure that we arrive at a ‘fair page’. But in the meantime, it is clear that THC is not a local charge and we have accepted that; that I’m very confident.”

READ ALSO: Shipping lines ignore directive to suspend Terminal Handling Charges

The coalition of business earlier petitioned the Trade Minister over the THC charges. They include the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), Ghana Chamber of Mines, Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) and the Greater Accra Regional Shippers Committee (GARSC).

Shipping lines such as Pacific International Line (PIL), Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), CMA CGM, Arkas Lines and UASC want to impose an average $150 as a Terminal Handling Charge for 20-footer container and $265 for a 40-footer.

The Transport Minister earlier ordered a temporary suspension of the THC which the shipping lines failed to comply. Subsequently, President Mahama waded into the THC controversy and called for the new charges to be stopped.

The directive to stop the THC follows a directive by the ministry to the Maritime Authority to constitute a committee to investigate claims of the shippers and traders.

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