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31.01.2007 General News

Streamline Port Charges - Importers

By Dorothy Asare-Kumah
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CAR importers have called on the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and a private shore-handling operator at the Tema port, Safebond Company Limited (SCL), to streamline their operations so that charges paid are not duplicated.

At an open forum for importers, exporters, freight forwarders and other clients to share their concerns with management of the company at Tema on Friday, the representatives complained for instance about the payment of transfer rates to both the GPHA and the SCL for the same car.

The forum was also to help the company get a firsthand feedback from its clients to access its work done so far in the area of shore handling.

The clients also complained about the number of security checks they go through during the clearance of their cargo, delays in the clearance of goods and the number of inspection officers they have to deal with before they are finally allowed to clear their cargo.

Abrantie Sailor, a clearing agent said the company’s refusal to allow agents handling imported vehicles and the owners into the car terminal was not right.

'How do you expect people who have been sent cars to travel all the way from different parts of the country to the Tema port and not be allowed to see their cars? Is it fair?' he asked.

Another agent, K. Maclean asked the company to take a second look at the period before which rent is charged on vehicles and the quantum of transfer charges paid on vehicles.

Responding to questions, Stephen Amo, Finance Manager of SCL explained that all port charges imposed by the company were approved by the GPHA.

'We do not charge anything outside what the GPHA has approved and given its nod to', he said.

He said the increment in the amount that is paid eventually is a result of the number of days the cars are allowed to stay at the car terminal.

'Clearing agents should help their clients to reap maximum benefits at less cost by making the appropriate arrangements to reduce the time and money spent during the processing period,' he said.

Kwaw Anyimiah, a principal collector of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service at the Customs Long Room reminded the company’s clients that the law covering rent charges on cargo at the ports has not been changed and asked them to always operate within the confines of the law so that the government revenue generated from their operations fall in line with what is expected.

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