Gov’t cargoes left to rot at the port

Cargoes belonging to Ministries, Departments and Agencies have a high propensity to overstay at Ghana’s ports with dire financial consequences.

That is according to the Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) Ms Benonita Bismarck whose outfit is seeking an end to the practice which has become a cause for worry for the authority whose mandate is to protect the interest of shippers.

As at the time of putting this story together, understands that some ministries and agencies of state are yet to clear cargoes that were imported into the country as far back as 2016, a situation that greatly affects the operations of the ports and shipping lines.

Under the laws governing activities at the ports, containerized goods that are not cleared after 21 days and vehicular ones not cleared after 60 days are placed on the Uncleared Cargoes List (UCL) and forfeited to the state.

This is however not the case with cargoes belonging to the state as they remain at the ports occupying space and sometimes taking up container and terminal spaces with port authorities helpless.

Even though these cargoes belonging to MDAs usually attract huge rent and demurrhage fees, the practice persists.

Speaking at a seminar for MDAs aimed at ending the canker, Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority Benonita Bismarck revealed that government’s permit regime plays a huge part in the current state of affairs.

“In Ghana, permits for exemptions for imports are granted by the Ministry of Finance through GRA-Customs in consultation with relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, therefore any delays in this process affect the clearance time,” she added.

According to her the delays in granting exemption permits to MDAs lead to rent and demurrhage charges that are in some cases higher than “import duties for which the exemptions was being sought”.

Ms Bismarck is therefore demanding for some urgent steps to be taken to deal with the canker and is hoping the seminar being organized by her outfit is helpful in presicribing workable solutions to the challenge.

“As agencies of State, the payment of these accumulated demurrhage and rent charges amounts to a wasteful dissipation of national resources that could otherwise have provided essential services for our citizens,” she charged.