Shipping Firm Imposes Ebola Levy

Dr. Kofi MbiahA private foreign shipping company, Hapag-Llyods, has imposed a levy on the shipment of goods in the sub-region to cover the Ebola Virus Disease.

This was done without the knowledge of both the Ministry of Transport and the Ghana Shippers Authority.

A statement issued by the company and sighted by the Times said the company would charge US$ 250 for a 20-footer container and US$350 for a 40-footer container, with immediate effect.

It did, however, not state how much it was imposing as levy.

It mentioned the affected countries as including Senegal, La Cote d’Iviore, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria.

According to the statement, the company’s decision to impose the levy was due to the Ivorian Port Health Department imposing mandatory health checks on all vessels arriving from the countries affected by Ebola while at anchorage in Abidjan.

“It is only when they confirm that all on board are in good health that the pilot will be allowed to board and bring the respective vessel into Abidjan port. For the moment, Ivorian health inspectors/quarantine team can only attend to two vessels a day,” the statement said.

“This will result in a huge delay, as well as additional operational measures, including, but not limited to diversion to other ports, extra handling, and speed-ups among others.

“Consequently, the cost exposure for Hapag-Lloyd is tremendous and we see no other alternative but to recover these costs through the cargo,” it claimed.

When contacted by The Ghanaian Times, the Minister of Transport Ms. Dzifa Attivor, said the increment had not come to her notice and requested that the Ghana Shippers Authority be contacted to address the issue.

Dr. Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority, when contacted, also denied any knowledge of such a levy, and therefore, could not comment on it.

He said information he gathered rather indicated that only shipping lines in Nigeria were contemplating imposing a levy because of the Ebola scare.

He promised to relay information on latest developments to the media.

By Times Reporter        

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