Port traffic slumps  for 10 months
Port traffic slumps for 10 months

Port traffic slumps for 10 months

The brunt of “unfriendly taxes and new policies” at the country’s seaports in recent times have forced some shippers to turn their attention to neighbouring Togo and Cote d’Ivoire to ply their trade, experts in the port business have observed.


A chunk of these cargoes that find their way to neighbouring ports in the West African sub-region is ultimately smuggled into the country through the many porous routes along Ghana’s borderline, thereby depriving the country of huge revenue.

The phenomenon, which has started showing a negative impact on port cargo traffic, has been ongoing for the last 10 months from June 2022 to March 2023.

Alarmed by the situation, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has started engaging stakeholders to find solutions and reverse the trend as soon as possible.

Stakeholders that participated in the first crunch meeting included the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG), Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and the Association of Customs House Agents Ghana (ACHAG).

The meeting was to help the port authority to identify the reasons behind the drop in traffic and find solutions to address the situation.

It was agreed at the meeting that a national dialogue involving the Ministry of Finance and stakeholders in the maritime industry should be held soon to help address the issue.

Maritime traffic

Data sourced from the port authority showed that container traffic dropped by 20.34 per cent to 1.24 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2022 from the 1.56 million TEUs recorded in 2021.

While Tema Port handled 1.21 million TEUs, Takoradi Port processed 38,699 TEUs.

This means that the container traffic at Ghana’s seaports has fallen below the 1.29 million TEUs recorded in 2020 (COVID-19 era).

The actual volume of goods in the containers even dropped from 30 million tonnes to 27 million tonnes for the period under review.

It consisted of 6.36 million tonnes of exports and 17.40 million tonnes of imports while transits and trans-shipments accounted for 1.66 million tonnes and 1.62 million tonnes respectively.

Vessel calls at the ports also reduced from 2,902 vessels in 2021 to 2,600 vessels in 2022, which affirms a crisis that needed an inclusive approach from all stakeholders.

GUTA’s position

The President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, noted that the country’s ports were now empty because they were losing cargo and revenue to neighbouring ports.

He explained that the aftermaths of the discount policy reversal coupled with the introduction of other tax policies in recent times had increased the cost of doing business at the country’s ports.

The cost of doing business in our ports has become very high in recent times and that is a deterrent to prevent people from doing business at our ports.

“And so, we are not surprised about the situation; we have been saying for several months now that measures need to be taken to address the challenges that are making our ports uncompetitive.

“If the cost of doing business at the ports is affordable, the compliance level will voluntarily be very high to be able to help the country to rake in more revenue to support national development,” he said. 

Illegal checkpoints

The President noted that red tapes and illegal checkpoints mounted by security agencies on the trade corridors were also contributory factors making the country uncompetitive, especially for shippers from landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

“Even shippers from Kumasi in the Ashanti Region are complaining that after they clear their goods from Tema Port; they need to find extra money to pay bribes at the numerous checkpoints before they arrive at their destination.


“We are losing business because we are not competitive compared to other countries in the sub-region,” Mr Obeng added.

Huge taxes

The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Awingobit Asaaki, in an interview, told the Graphic Business that the participants at the meeting made it clear that the drop in traffic was a result of huge taxes imposed on imports in recent times.

“Some of the taxes such as the imposition of two per cent value-added tax (VAT) and the reversal of the benchmark values have increased import taxes.

“If you cleared Toyota Vitz for GH¢15,000 about three years ago, today you will not be able to do that because the import duty for the same car is now GH¢50,000,” he said.


He noted that this development had made the port very expensive; hence, most importers were now diverting their cargo to neighbouring countries.

The Executive Secretary made a passionate appeal to the government to halt the implementation of the three new tax bills recently passed by Parliament in order not to escalate the situation at the ports.

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...