The Head of Freight and Logistics at the Ghana Shippers Authority, Mr. Fred Asiedu-Dartey has bemoaned the huge numbers of shipping containers that are uncleared at the Ports of Ghana by individuals and state agencies.
According to him, the uncleared cargoes sitting at Ghana’s ports are compounding and severely impeding the flow of containers out of the country as well as congesting port terminals.
Mr. Asiedu-Dartey averred that, “the law doesn’t allow customs to auction those goods belonging to state institutions, so you end up having containers sitting in the ports for 100 days, 300 days and some have done as far as 5 years, and this is unacceptable.”
Speaking on Eye on Port on the global shortage of containers and its impact on Ghana’s shipping industry, he disclosed that the Shippers Authority is leading an industry-wide committee with the Shipping Lines, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the Customs Division of GRA to roll out a standard operating procedure to proffer effective solutions in the administration of the uncleared cargo list.
There has been reported shortage of shipping containers worldwide and this has caused severe disruptions in the global supply chain.
As a result, some pundits in Ghana’s shipping sector have called for a reorientation in the attitude towards shipping, while highlighting the impact of the shortage of boxes on Ghana’s maritime trade.
An Agro-Commodities Trader and CEO of Maxwell Investments Group, Maxwell Ampong, attributed the global shortage of containers mainly to the world’s over dependence on imports from the Far East especially China.
He said, additionally, with western economies unable to recover as quickly as China did during the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation exacerbated, impeding the rotation of boxes across ports.
“The whole world depends on China for imports. So, if these containers leave and don’t circle back, the global circulation equilibrium is distorted. There is an increase in demand, all the ships are ready yet there aren’t enough containers. Containers that, hitherto, before COVID, were to be in some ports, are locked elsewhere,” Mr. Ampong elaborated.
The CEO of Maxwell Investments Group also indicated the accompanying impact of the week-long blockage of the Suez Canal after the grounding of the Ever Given containership as contributing to this trend.
Maxwell Ampong explained that the shortage of containers has inevitably contributed to the massive increases seen in freight rates since the pandemic broke out.
The Head of Freight and Logistics at the Ghana Shippers Authority, Fred Asiedu-Dartey, reiterated the rippling effect of the astronomical increases on freight on the
“Forty-footer containers from the North China area was around 3600 Dollars around June 2020, by December 2020. It had gone up to 7950 and by May 2021, it had gone up to 10,200 and as we speak, it is between 12,000 and 13,000 Dollars per 40ft container,” he revealed.
He opined that another means of improving the circulation of boxes from the local perspective is to increase exports.
Mr. Asiedu-Dartey said, “imports coming in often do not have return cargo, so the cost of the repositioning of the container among other things, is built into the cost of the freight. Improving our export base will help to mitigate the freight costs.”
Maxwell, on the other hand said, the shortage of containers has made it necessary for a focus on regionalization to eliminate the over-dependence on China.