Freight Forwarders call for increased consultations

The President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Edward Akrong, has called for more inclusion of freight forwarders in the country’s policy formulations. 


This, he explained, would lead to the development of well-advised policies that would improve trade facilitation in the country.

Speaking at a press conference in Tema on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, to highlight some critical issues affecting the freight forwarding industry, Mr Akrong said the Ghanaian freight forwarding community plays a pivotal role in the nation’s economic development in both trade facilitation and revenue generation for the country, hence, the need for them to be consulted whenever policies are to be rolled out.

Valuation challenges

The GIFF president listed the valuation of goods by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority as one of the issues facing their sector. He said although valuation had been a sore point in doing business at the ports, the situation has been further exacerbated by a recent imposition of a reference price list for the valuation of goods by the Board of the GRA. 

He argued that this new directive directly contradicted international trade agreements, particularly those under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TEA).

“As signatories to the WTO, Ghana is bound by principles that advocate for fair and transparent valuation,” he said, adding that the Customs Act 2015, Act 891 clearly and unequivocally states how valuation for goods should be done.

He argued that it was illegal for the GRA to create a certain minimum value or reference price list for valuation purposes, stressing that several importers have been saddled with this imposition even though they have provided all evidence of the genuineness of their values.

Mr Akrong posited that all these policies added to the high cost of doing business at the ports and also had a direct effect on the cost of goods on the market and urged a reconciliation of the policy to align with international standards to foster a conducive environment for trade.

Exemption law

He said the recent passage of the Exemption Act, 2022, Act 1083 by Parliament also did not go through consultation with his outfit before its introduction, adding that the passage and implementation of the law have created obstacles in the clearance process, affecting not only private enterprises but also hindering the clearance of government cargoes at the Ports.

Mr Akrong revealed that data available showed, for example, that Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Cocoa Marketing Board, for the last three quarters in 2023, have a total of over 900 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) on the Uncleared Cargo List mainly due to lack of exemptions.

“The sad part is the accrual of demurrage charges to the shipping lines, which is an enormous burden on the government,” he said.

GIFF, therefore, advocated for a review of the legislation to ensure that it served its intended purpose without obstructing the essential movement of goods, particularly those crucial to government operations.


The GIFF President listed the Interconnected System for the Management of Goods in Transit (SIGMAT), which he described as reminiscent of the Cargo Tracking Note as one of the failed policies introduced, and maintained that his outfit opposes the policy, adding that the government needed to reassess and rectify policies that may inadvertently impede the efficiency of the logistics and supply chain operations 

He said the Government’s recent directive to importers in the cooking oil industry to use only the seaport as the point of entry has created new challenges for players in that sector, adding that the industry players, especially those along the West African sub-region, have to invest more resources in shipping their goods to Ghana’s seaports.

Mr Akrong argued that in an environment characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, the frequent changes in policies without consultation with key stakeholders posed significant challenges to the operations of GIFF members. 

He, therefore, called for a collaborative approach between the government and industry stakeholders in the formulation of policies that were not only responsive to current global dynamics but also supportive of the growth and sustainability of the freight forwarding sector.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...