The transport ministry has suspended the implementation of the Terminal Handling Charges (THC) being proposed by the various shipping lines in Ghana.
The decision to suspend the charges was arrived at on Wednesday after hours of meeting between stakeholders in the shipping industry and the ministry. The ministry referred the matter to the Ghana Maritime Authority which is expected to present a report on it within two months.
The charges, if approved would mean shippers will be paying between $140 and $155 for a 20-footer container and $260-$275 for a 40-footer one. Various groups in the industry, including the Ghana Shippers Authority, the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, among others, have kicked against the THC, saying it would further increase the cost of doing business.
They argue that the new charges are unnecessary, saying they have already been factored into the freight charges they pay before a ship sets sail. They fear if the charges come into force, they would be paying close to $60 million annually.
The shippers say as it stands now, they are reeling under the impact of multiplicity of taxes and levies at the ports.
They have thus welcomed the suspension of the charges as they await the report of the Ghana Maritime Authority.