Importers were on Wednesday advised to make adequate logistical and financial plans to help address the challenges that leads to delays in cargo clearance at the ports.
They were also counselled to ensure timely clearance of cargo to avoid paying demurrage.
Ms Benonita B. Bismarck, Chef Executive officer of Ghana Shippers Authority, (GSA) gave the advice at a day’s seminar organised by GSA to sensitise stakeholders on how to avoid paying demurrages.
Demurrage refers to fees payable by importers when their import containers are not cleared and remain under the control of the shipping line beyond the stipulated seven days due to delays.
Ms Bismarck said, ‘To avoid paying demurrages, shippers must share cargo and shipment delivery instructions with all parties including the carrier, vendor and third-party provider in advance to plan smooth loading or unloading process and avoid delays.
‘They should also understand all required documents and perhaps, engaged an experienced Broker or Agent that will help eliminate paperwork-related problems,’ he said.
Ms Bismarck said demurrage was one of the significant drains on the capital of import and exportation business adding that in the year 2017 over $75 million was paid as demurrage at the ports.
She remarked that government had instituted bold initiatives in the cargo clearance process including the paperless system to address the challenges stakeholders go through.
Mr Adam Imoru Ayarna, Vice-President of the Shipowners and Agents Association of Ghana called on authorities to educate the client on the value chain to the better understanding of the clearance process.
He urged importers to familiarize themselves with clearance charges and procedures before embarking on their shipping business.
Touching on the theme, ‘How to Avoid Demurrage,’ Mr Ayarna said Demurrage and rent, can be avoided if shippers were able to clear their cargo generally within the first seven days free period.
Mr Louise Mennia, Chief Revenue Officer, Ghana Revenue Authority suggested to shippers to be proactive by securing the necessary license, permits, and funds before their cargo arrives.
On the negative impact of demurrage, he said, the phenomena was a foreign exchange drain on the economy and dwindles profit as well as the working capital of shippers.