Shipping Firm Ordered To Stop Levy

Dr. Kofi MbiahFollowing The Ghanaian Times publication on Ebola Disease Levy imposed on the shipment of goods in the sub region, the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) has directed the private shipping company, Hapag Llyods, to put a halt to the levy.

It said no company had the right to institute a levy without its approval. It has, consequently asked the company to remove the notice from its website.

Speaking to The Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Dr. Kofi Mbiah, said the GSA was in talks with the agent of the shipping company to ensure that no such levies are collected on goods shipped into the country

He said checks by the Authority indicated that importers in the country have so far not been affected by the charges.

“We did our checks and found out that companies in the country have not been affected. Subsequently, we contacted the agent of Hapag Llyods and asked them to notify the Authority before making any such move,” he said.

He said the Authority was informed during the checks, that the company published the charges on its website in August for implementation in September, but had not effected the charges.

“To this end, we contacted their agent, who said Hapag Llyods has not started with such charges yet. So we have asked them to remove the notification from their website to avoid causing fear and panic,” he said.

The Ghanaian Times on Monday, November 10, published that Hapag Llyods, a private foreign shipping company, had imposed levies on shipment of goods in the sub region due to the Ebola Virus Disease scare.

In a statement issued by Hapag Llyods and sighted by The Ghanaian Times, the company indicated that it would charge US$ 250 for a 20-footer container and US$350 for a 40-footer container, with immediate effect.

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 that are transported into countries affected by Ebola.

“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 added.

It said that would 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 said.

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

By Charles Amankwa    

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