The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana is raising a suspicion of a grand scheme by some shipping lines to thwart government’s effort to ensure ease of doing business at the port.

It is therefore urging government to as a matter of urgency issue a fiat suspending the payment of demurrage or either direct the shipping lines to extend their working hours, to meet the high demand at the Port.

In a statement  signed by its Executive Secretary, Sampson Asaki, the association said “Whereas Customs, Ghana Ports and Habours Authority and MPS are working 24 hours a day to ensure importers clear their goods on time, shipping lines have capitalised on the lockdown as an excuse to reduce their working hours to only 6 hours. 

“This means they work only from 8am to 2pm instead of the daily 12 hours, making it difficult for importers to clear their goods on time, and in default pay for demurrages.“

Our checks so far, reveals that no single importer has been able to clear his or her goods within 24 hours since the lockdown was announced, a situation which must solely be blamed on the doorsteps of the various shipping lines.

“We believe, the actions by these shipping lines, is a deliberate attempt to milk importers from huge demurrages they are made to pay for failing to clear their goods on time”, the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana noted.

It therefore said the shipping lines must be made to work within full working hours, to reduce the burden already brought upon importers by the COVID-19 lock down.