GPHA defends port tariff adjustments

GPHA defends port tariff adjustments

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has defended the recent port tariff adjustment.

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In a reaction to concerns raised by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), the GPHA said "like all other increments done in the past, the rates of increment in this year's tariff adjustment were informed by the outcome of a comparative port tariffs studies we conducted in our neighbouring Ports of Lome and Abidjan, to ensure that at every given time, our ports will remain competitive in terms of price and quality of services."

"We wish to note that even with the increment of 1st August 2023, overall, our port tariffs remain competitive compared to our neighbours," the GPHA said in a press release dated August 3, 2023, issued by Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manageer of Marketing and Corporate Affairs.

GUTA calls on GPHA to suspend new tariffs

The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) had called on the GPHA to suspend the implementation of its new tariffs.

Instead, GUTA wanted the GPHA to “engage stakeholders as the adverse impact of these increases would further compound the high cost of doing business.”

In a press statement signed and issued in Accra on Wednesday by the President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, GUTA said its attention had been "drawn to astronomical increases in Port Tariffs" announced by the GPHA.

“The announcement comes as a surprise to our members, who continue to reel under the effects of the many taxes and levies that have been introduced in recent times, as well as the economic challenges plaguing the country,” Mr Obeng said.

He further said that the port authorities themselves had been complaining about low traffic at the country’s ports due to the high cost of doing business.

As such, he added that “this decision would further influence increases in shipping line charges.”

Attached below is a copy of the GPHA's press release

PRESS RELEASE

INCREASE IN GPHA TARIFF

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) on 1st August 2023, implemented its revised and restructured tariff and has taken note of a Press Release issued on 2nd August 2023 by the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

Consequently, GPHA wishes to clarify as follows;

1. That before the implementation of the tariff, there were series of engagements with the relevant institutions and major stakeholders including the Ghana Shippers' Authority (GSA), Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), Freight Forwarding Associations, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana as well as representations from the transit trading community to gather insights and feedback before implementing the tariff increment.

These engagements started from April to July 2023 and stakeholder concerns were considered, culminating in a reduction of the initial figures captured in the Tariff proposal and an extension of the implementation date from July to August. The final notice of implementation was communicated to all the stakeholders on the 1st of June 2023. However, some stakeholders still expressed reservations on the percentage increment and the timing.

Despite their concerns, GPHA was compelled to implement the revised tariff due to the current global economic challenges including inflation and currency depreciation which have increased our operational cost.

2. That the scope of the review was such that some tariff items were not increased, while others were restructured to address the distortions and lack of clarity in the interpretation and application of some tariff items.

3. That GPHA has no specific time frame for tariff reviews. The decision to increase port tariff comes after careful evaluation and consideration of various factors impacting the port's operations. Indeed, records show that there was a time when port tariff was not reviewed for more than a decade.

GHA's operations like any other business is affected by increases in the price of fuel, water, electricity, machinery and equipment among others. While we understand that tariff increment may have short term effect on businesses, it is essential to maintain a delicate balance between cost recovery and providing quality services.

4. That GPHA is equally concerned about the low traffic volumes, but that is no reason for the Authority to operate at a loss. Our investigation revealed that the decline in cargo volumes cannot be attributed to GPHA's service charges. GPHA's charges as a component of the total cost of cargo clearance in the port is about 6%. We are currently conducting a study on the individual contributors and their share to total cost of cargo clearance in our ports, so that together, we can engage and find possible solutions.

5. That GPHA has invested millions of dollars in upgrading port infrastructure and a well maintained and efficient port system will, which in the long run, will contribute to a reduction in operational costs for businesses, enhance productivity and facilitate smoother trade operations.

6. That like all other increments done in the past, the rates of increment in this year's tariff adjustment were informed by the outcome of a comparative port tariffs studies we conducted in our neighbouring Ports of Lome and Abidjan, to ensure that at every given time, our ports will remain competitive in terms of price and quality of services. We wish to note that even with the increment of 1st August 2023, overall, our port tariffs remain competitive compared to our neighbours.

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7. That transparency and accountability remain at the core of GPHA's decision making process, ensuring that the interest of all parties is considered. We are therefore committed to transforming the Ports of Ghana into the leading trade and logistics hub in West Africa.

Signed
ESTHER GYEBI-DONKOR (MRS.)
GENERAL MANAGER MARKETING AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS

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

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